Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Murderer gets life sentence

Published:Friday | January 28, 2022 | 12:06 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

A St Catherine labourer who robbed a man of his wallet after peppering him with bullets in 2017 was sentenced Thursday to life in prison after he was found guilty of murder.

Justice Leighton Pusey, in handing down the sentence in the Gun Court, ruled that the convicted killer, Andre Stoddard, must serve 21 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

The convicted killer’s co-accused, Ramone Alexander, was, however, freed of murder and gun charges.

Stoddart was convicted of murder, as well as robbery with aggravation, and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition during a paper trial.

He was also sentenced to serve 20 years each on gun and robbery charges. However, the sentences are to run concurrent.

The now-deceased Stephen James, otherwise called ‘Crime Boss’, was shot and injured while at a bar in Naggo Head, St Catherine, on October 30, 2017.

James, who had recorded a statement before he succumbed to his injuries, indicated that both men were known to him and that on the day in question, he was sitting inside the bar when he saw Alexander standing in the doorway holding a pistol against his left leg.

At the same time, he spotted Stoddard pulling out a handgun.

James said while running out of the bar screaming “Murder!”, he heard several explosions.

The injured man, who fell after he was shot, said Stoddard, armed with a gun, came towards him while he lay on the ground and took his wallet.

After the shooting, the injured was man rushed to hospital and both men were arrested and charged.

Both had, however, maintained their innocence while insisting that they were never present on the day of the incident.

Attorneys-at-law Tom Tavares-Finson, QC, and Donahue Martin, who represented Alexander in the no-case application, submitted that the prosecution had failed in its duty to prove a case against their client to the requisite standard.

The lawyers averred that the failure of the police to hold an identification parade and to provide an explanation was fatal to the conviction.

Noting that the now-deceased had merely mentioned that he had known both defendants for 10 years, the lawyers argued that that was not sufficient evidence to meet the threshold of recognition evidence.

The judge consequently agreed with the lawyers that should that evidence be adduced, it would be unfair material and prejudicial to the defendant. As result, Alexander was freed of the charges.