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Ex-cop gets life in prison for teen's murder, to serve 24 years before parole

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

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

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

Russell was today sentenced to life in prison and High Court judge, Justice David Fraser has stipulated that he must serve the period before he's eligible for parole.

Some of his former colleagues wept in court after the sentence was announced.

During a two-week trial, prosecutor Jeremy Taylor led evidence, 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.

According to the evidence, Russell  took back the weapon before Thompson 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 are horrific.

He noted that police officers are entrusted to protect and serve members of 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 and Jamaica.

Russell was held in the US then extradited to Kingston where he had been awaiting trial.