Residents displeased pastor’s son didn’t get harsher sentence for murdering his dad
NEIGHBOURS OF the late Garnet Foster Sr are disappointed at the verdict handed down to his son, Garnet Jr, in the Home Circuit Court for his dad’s murder.
Residents living in the Bullet Tree community in Petersfield, Westmoreland, who shared that the elder Foster was a staunch defender of his son, recalled that the well-loved pastor would ignore glaring signals and complaints about his son’s misdeeds, which eventually led to his own demise.
Foster Jr, who was 17 years old at the time and the eldest of three children, stabbed his father in his upper body multiple times in his bedroom about 5 a.m. on Wednesday, July 23, 2021.
Reacting to Friday’s sentencing, Derrick Reid, a close friend of Foster Sr’s, said the teenage boy should be serving life imprisonment as he remembered a number of times when ‘Triston’, as Foster Jr is called, got in trouble and his father would rescue him.
“The boy should not come back out yah so fi now, only 15 years! No man, that mean that him going come back when him about 30 (years). No sah, that far too little bit fi kill him own father,” an upset Reid lamented.
“I remember one day when them accuse the youth that him thief a cell phone and when Foster (Sr) come home and them tell him, him get angry and tell the people them fi stop accuse him son. Him then say him was going to carry the boy go to station go report that them a tell lie pon him, but mi boss, before him could leave the yard, the people them ring the phone and him hear it a ring inna him own yard,” Reid recounted.
He continued: “A nuff night him ketch the boy a smoke ganja, and the two a them have it out. And we even hear that him ketch the boy pon internet a look up pon site that teach you how fi kill your parents.”
Reid also related that Foster Sr loved his son so much that on the morning of the tragedy when residents sought to ascertain the identity of his attacker, “he just smiled and asked them to take him to the hospital”, without naming his son as the culprit.
It was Foster Jr who informed his grandmother and uncle that he had discovered his father lying inside his bedroom in a pool of blood, with a knife sticking out of his neck. His father died at hospital.
Following investigations, the teen was arrested and charged, and later confessed to killing his father during his appearance in the Westmoreland Circuit Court, on July 26, this year.
Foster Jr, who is now 19, was originally scheduled to be sentenced on August 4, but the case had to be rescheduled as the judge ordered a second psychiatric evaluation.
Another neighbour, who gave her first name as Shirley, argued that the sentencing may send a wrong signal to criminals.
“I don’t know if it is sending a wrong signal to some of the youth them out deh that them can kill them parents and write sympathy letter and get a reduced sentence. I don’t know, but mi heart is a rock against that sentencing deh,” Shirley told The Gleaner.
“You see if a did someone out a road Triston kill, maybe mi would a feel bad say him kill somebody, but mi would a more deh pon him side. But you see a father like Garnet, oh God man, him nuh deserve that, and Triston shouldn’t kill him father,” she argued.
However, Errol Heaven, the pastor’s cousin, believes that the sentencing handed to Foster Jr is just.
“As for me, I am satisfied with the sentencing,” said Heaven. “But that gentleman that has been killed was a great asset in the community and a lot of people miss him ... Everybody loves Garnet, especially the little children, especially because he played the role of community principal at the school which he opened inside his yard to assist students with their education during the entire COVID-19 pandemic.”
Foster Sr, who was 45 years at the time of his demise, was a vibrant member of his community. He was principal of the school that he started in his own yard during the COVID-19 pandemic; pastor of the Church of God Mountain Assembly; and an auditor at the Round Hill Hotel in the parish. Given his prominence, he was able to secure jobs for several members of the community, including in the hotel sector.