Mon | Jan 30, 2023

Man confesses to murdering businessman in plea deal, gets 17 years

Published:Friday | June 17, 2022 | 8:55 PM
Mendez, 41, was shot dead in 2014 by the two men who posed as customers at his car mart on Maxfield Avenue, St Andrew. 

A man who struck a deal and pleaded guilty to murdering Payless Car Mart operator Robert Mendez in 2014 has been sentenced to 17 years in prison. 

But John Jarrett will not be eligible for parole until he serves 15 years.

Jarrett was charged facing charges of illegal possession of firearm, murder and attempted larceny arising from the killing on April 1, 2014 in St. Andrew.

He confessed to the gun and murder allegations when he appeared before the Home Circuit Court on Wednesday, based on a plea deal between the prosecution and the defence.

Justice Vinette Graham-Allen then sentenced him to 15 years in prison on the gun charge and 17 years for murder, according to statement issued this afternoon by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). 

The prosecution offered no evidence against Jarrett for the offence of attempted larceny from the person as a condition of the plea agreement.

Jarrett was not the actual shooter in the case but was implicated because of his participation. 

In 2020, the triggerman Bertram 'Heavy D' Jenkins pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced on 27 years and seven months in prison. He won't be eligible for parole until after 15 years behind bars.

Jarrett was represented by attorney-at-law Diane Jobson. Acting Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Syleen O'Gilvie, represented the led the case for the Crown. 

Mendez, 41, was shot dead by the two men who posed as customers at his car mart on Maxfield Avenue. 

STATEMENT FROM ODPP: 

Facts

On April 1, 2014, at about 8:50 a.m., the accused Jarrett and former co-accused Bertram Jenkins (who has previously pleaded guilty to the murder) went to Payless Motors Limited business place of deceased, Mr. Robert Mendez, located off Maxfield Avenue in the parish of St. Andrew. Both accused then went outside with the deceased, where former co-accused, Jenkins was seen conversing with the deceased. Thereafter, all three (3) men returned to the office where the deceased went into his office with a female customer. Both accused waited outside of the office in the lobby, where former co-accused Jenkins had a black laptop bag in his possession. After the female customer exited the office, the deceased then escorted both accused men into his office to discuss the purchase of a car.

After about 2-3 minutes of discussions relating to former co-accused Jenkins purchasing a car, Jenkins took a firearm from his laptop bag and shot the deceased in his head. Thereafter, the co-accused Jenkins stole the deceased's licenced firearm, which was a 9mm pistol from his waistband. Both co-accused and accused Jarrett left the office and the accused Jarrett returned to deceased's office and tried to remove a bracelet from the deceased's hand but was unsuccessful. During the conversations between Jenkins and the deceased in the office, accused Jarrett was observed looking around the office and out the window in an uneasy manner. The entire incident was captured on a CCTV in the deceased office that was made available to the Crown and the Defence.

Common Design/ Joint Enterprise

The Crown rested its case on the concept of common design so although accused Jarrett was not the actual shooter, his conduct suggests that he was there to aid and abet/assist Jenkins in the commission of the offence of Murder of Robert Mendez. In accordance with the law, Jarrett would be criminally liable to be charged, tried and convicted for murder in a similar way to Jenkins who was the actual shooter. The Crown further posits that it was clear on the evidence of the case that Jarrett was not accidentally present but was purposely present to aid and abet the commission of the offence.

Sentencing of John Jarrett

The Crown offered no evidence against the accused for the offence of Attempted Larceny from the Person as a condition of the plea agreement. The accused was sentenced after pleading guilty to the offences of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Murder. This sentence was arrived at after the Learned Judge took into consideration the number of years that the accused Jarrett spent on remand, which is eight (8) years between 2014 to 2022. As such, the Learned Judge used 25 years as her starting point for the offence of Murder, less eight (8) years spent in custody, amounting to seventeen (17) years.

Extradition of Co-Accused

Former co-accused Jenkins had fled to Canada and a request for his extradition was made through the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Jamaica for his return. On August 10, 2015, Jenkins was extradited from Canada and placed in custody. On September 29, 2015, Jenkins was charged for the offences and when cautioned, he made no statement. The accused Bertram Jenkins o/c Heavy D had pleaded guilty to Murder in the Home Circuit Court and was sentenced on March 12, 2020, to twenty-seven (27) years and seven (7) months' imprisonment; to spend fifteen (15) years' imprisonment before being eligible for parole.

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