Three men were granted their freedom today while a fourth was jailed for the killing of Rico Depeiza five years ago.
The deceased, formerly of Checker Hall, St Lucy, was stabbed to death on May 21, 2011, while at Speightstown, St Peter.
Today, Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius imposed a 12-year sentence on Benson Finisterre of Crab Hill, St Lucy who pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She allowed the others – Ryan Anderson Moore, Kaeron Sylvan Moore and Dwayne Decarlo Griffith – to walk free.
Reviewing the facts before handing down her sentence in the No. 5 Supreme Court, Justice Cornelius noted that Finisterre said it was after Depeiza attacked him that he stabbed the man. The two were reportedly involved in an ongoing dispute, but Finisterre expressed “contrition and remorse” that a life was lost.
Testimony given during the case demonstrated that he did not have a
propensity to kill and that he had cooperated with the police. Prior to the stabbing, he did not have any criminal record, neither did he exhibit violent behaviour, apart from his school days.
The aggravating factors, which the court took into consideration, included that Finisterre had confronted Depeiza after the man had an altercation with a woman.
“You initiated the confrontation on that occasion. . . . You had an opportunity to contemplate other options . . . and the fact that the conflict did not involve you at all . . .” the judge said. “You were armed with a knife prior to confronting the unarmed deceased and you stabbed him in the chest in the presence of bystanders.”
Pointing to the mitigating factors, Justice Cornelius noted the offence was “not planned or pre-mediated.”
She then imposed the sentence on Finisterre, who was represented by attorney Dr Lenda Blackman. However, the judge took into account his 2,005 days already spent on remand and his early guilty plea.
Finisterre, therefore, has six years and 185 more days behind bars.
The other three accused, meanwhile, said they were not guilty of manslaughter but guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. They admitted to pelting bottles that hit Depeiza.
Taking into consideration the aggravating and mitigating factors and their time spent on remand, Justice Cornelius decided “no further protection of the public would be achieved by your further incarceration.”
Ryan Moore had spent 974 days on remand and Kaeron Moore, 925 days. Both were represented by Dr Blackman. Griffith, whose defence was led by attorney Andrew Pilgrim, QC, spent 1,730 days on remand at HMP Dodds.
Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts prosecuted the case.