Mona Hope simply could not hold back the tears when she received the news last Saturday morning that her son’s killer was sentenced to death.
On the one hand, Hope, a devout member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, was relieved that the 17-day murder trial which started on June 1 was finally over.
On the other she was struggling with the need for forgiveness, as she eventually made her way to church that morning where the song, Love At Home, struck a personal chord.
“The love is there but we don’t really go deeply into it, such as praying with our children and talking with our children the way that God asked us,” said Hope, as she counselled herself through the still quite difficult personal episode.
“I am not saying that some of us don’t, we do, but don’t put our all into it. We run here and there to work, send our children to church, but don’t find time to go with them.
“Just how we go out and work and bring back the physical food and give them, we should find time to feed them with the spiritual food also. That is where we as mothers are lacking with our children,” Hope advised.
That morning, as her tears freely flowed, the 60-year-old mother of five was again reminded of the loss her family had suffered, as well as the stark reality that she would never see her son Paul alive again. Neither would his four children.
After eight years of pain and hurt, there was still no closure, no end. But thankfully, her feelings of anger and bitterness over her son’s untimely death are all but gone, as his killer, 30-year-old Dwayne Omar Alleyne, now faces up to his own fate.
Alleyne was on Friday sentenced to death for the 2008 murder, following a two- and-a-half week trial in which his attorney, Angella Mitchell-Gittens, had appealed for a not guilty verdict on the grounds that her client had shot Hope’s son in self-defence.
“He killed where it’s [a case of] either kill or be killed and in those circumstances, [it was] lawful self-defence,” the defence lawyer had argued in her submission to the jury.
However, the 12-member panel rejected that argument and found that Alleyne, alias Steppin, of Maynards, St Peter, had deliberately murdered Paul a short distance away from his Clarke’s Road, Ashton Hall, St Peter home.
The two were virtually neighbours and Hope’s mother, who knows Alleyne’s mother has been torn over her son’s tragic death.
In fact, she saw it as “the work of the enemy”, even though she readily admitted that her son was “hard ears” growing up.
“He decide to mix with the wrong crowd who he think is his friends and that is what got him in all of this sort of situation,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“If he had only listened to me when I talk to him and I tell him keep away from the friends. Had he listened to me and hear, he would have been alive today,” the mother insisted.
As she desperately tries to both forgive and forget the ugly chapter, Hope avoided being in the courtroom for the recent trial, as she repeated over and over the same prayer in her head:
“Lord I just want this finish. Lord I just want this finish,” she said.
However, she still resigned herself to the position that her son’s killer would get off with nothing more than additional jail time.
Alleyne’s death sentence therefore came as a complete shock.
With that said, once the verdict was read, Hope’s heart immediately went out to the other affected mother.
“I would have been glad to talk with her at that time. Hold her hands. Hug her. Give her words of comfort. But I said in light of what happened, I can’t do it at this point in time,” she said in reference to Alleyne’s mother, to whom she eventually sent words of encouragement and comfort through a mutual friend.
“No mother would like to lose her son, and then seeing another mother’s son condemned to hang,” Hope said.
“I felt real hurt for the mother of the young man because she is a very quiet person. I know her and she is a very nice, quiet person.
“I say, if it was me this morning hearing the news, I would have felt bad also. If the shoe was on my foot, I would have felt bad also,” she added.