Tue | Jun 22, 2021

Man convicted 14 years after preteen's murder

Published:Wednesday | June 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM

A jury deliberated for less than two hours yesterday and convicted 44-year-old salesman Hozen Horne, also called 'Metro Man', of Essex Hall, St Andrew of the murder of 12-year-old schoolgirl Leisha Smith.

The girl's partially decomposed body, with the feet tied, was found by a fisherman under the Portmore Causeway in June 1998.

The cause of death was drowning.

Supreme Court judge Bertram Morrison has put off sentencing until June 29.

Defence lawyer Ainsworth Campbell, who represented Horne, expressed disapproval with the verdict.

Morrison chided Campbell for his outburst and reminded him that Horne was tried by his peers and Campbell must respect the jury's verdict.

Joan Barnett, assistant director of public prosecutions, led evidence in the Home Circuit Court that the girl was murdered between June 19 and 21, 1998.

Witnesses testified that, on the night of June 19, 1998, they saw someone in Horne's motorcar fitting the age and description of the girl.

The girl's body was exhumed and evidence was given that DNA tests were conducted on blood samples taken from Horne, items taken from his house and tissue taken from the deceased.

The forensic analyst formed the view that, based on the blood analysis, there was a high degree of certainty the deceased was inside Horne's house.

In an unsworn statement form the dock, Horne denied the allegations and said the girl was never in his motorcar.

Horne was convicted in 2000 of the murder but in 2008, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial because the judge had given inadequate direction to the jury in relation to the DNA evidence.