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Ex cop murder trial | Former constable gets life for killing teen

Published:Monday | July 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Former police constable Mark Russell will have to serve at least 24 years in prison for killing an unarmed teenage boy from the inner-city community of Whitfield Town in St Andrew in 2007.

Russell was sentenced yesterday to life in prison by High Court judge, Justice David Fraser, who stipulated that he must serve 24 years before he is eligible for parole.

Some of his former colleagues wept in court after the sentence was handed down in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

Prosecutor Jeremy Taylor led evidence, during his two-week trial, that Russell placed a police-issued M16 rifle in the hands of 18-year-old Ravin Thompson as he lay wounded along Darling Street in downtown Kingston.

Thompson was shot in the chest during a police-military operation in his community and was being transported to the Kingston Public Hospital for treatment by cops and soldiers.

But, according to the evidence, Russell took back the M16 before the teenager was shot several times by another constable, identified as Morris Lee.

Fraser, in passing sentence, said he could not ignore the fact that the nature of the allegations was horrific.

He noted that police personnel were entrusted to protect and serve the public, but said the verdict of the jury indicated their belief that Russell did the opposite of that.

The judge also said he took into consideration that Russell had been in custody for six years between the United States (US) and Jamaica as he awaited trial.

Russell was held in the US and extradited to Kingston in 2012.