NASSAU – While the 55-year prison sentence of Kofhe Goodman, 42, for the murder of 11-year-old Marco Archer was not the result Marco’s family members expected, the feeling of closure nears as they continue to grapple with the loss of their son and brother.
On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Carolita Bethel determined that she could not conclude that Goodman is incapable of reform and thus rejected the Crown’s request for a death sentence.
Privy Council criteria dictate that one should only be given the death penalty if they cannot be reformed and if the crime is considered the “worst of the worst”.
“The death penalty is definitely what we were going for and what we expected and it didn’t happen,” said Tanzia Humes, Marco’s sister, during an interview with The Nassau Guardian at the family’s Prison Lane home yesterday.
“We were hoping for the death penalty. We felt as if that’s what he should have been given.”
Humes said despite the outcome, the family is thankful.
“If they decide to appeal the sentencing we will be with them 100 per cent,” she said.
“We [aren’t] getting tired. We [aren’t] getting weary.
“This is what we are going to do for our brother, for my mom.
“We are sticking with it, so whatever is decided we are there and we are thankful for the closure as well.”
Humes said she, however, remains confused by the law and what kind of murder is really considered the worst of the worst, if not the gruesome murder of her brother in 2011.
“I don’t think [Goodman] is in a situation to be reformed; that [doesn’t] make sense to me,” Humes said.
“But I’m not going to doubt God and the decision has been made and we believe that Marco was a sacrifice to get this man off the street, this demon.”
Goodman has been convicted of Marco’s murder two times.
The little boy’s naked, decomposing body was found wrapped in a sheet behind the Cable Beach apartment complex where Goodman lived and his clothing was found in the garbage in front of the building.
Marco’s remains were found on September 28, 2011, five days after he failed to return home after leaving to buy candy.
With her voice breaking and tears streaming down her face, Tryphemia Meadows, Marco’s mother, once again expressed regret over that one innocent decision to send her son around the corner to the store.
“Sometimes I say to myself, ‘If I only knew, I wouldn’t have even sent him to the shop,’” Meadows managed to choke out.
“But I miss him a lot and I think about him a lot of times because when I see children in his age bracket and even [from] the school he used to go to I see boys who I know went to school with him, so I just imagine how
Marco would have been looking now at the age of 17.”
Meadows said she remains at a loss for words over the sentencing.
“I don’t know what to say about it because it’s hurting to me, because I was looking for the same thing, the death penalty for him,” she said.
“But then with the 55 years [Goodman] got, I still give God thanks because he [isn’t] out on the streets to do it to nobody else, because Marco is already gone.
“I can’t see Marco anymore. I get a little
bit of closure to it but I’m still [not] satisfied with it.”
Marco’s other sister, Valkeisha Archer, said life remains hard without their little brother.
“At the end of the day life goes on but it’s hard because the person who took my brother’s life . . . he’s supposed to get the death penalty because he took something away from us,” Archer said.
“We lost a great deal.
“We lost someone who made us smile, who I wanted to see grow up to become a young man and that never happened.
“It’s very hard. I really wanted him to be on death row for the rest of his life, but unfortunately that’s how it is.”
Reminiscing on her own memories of Marco, Archer began to break down in tears, barely able to speak.
“I remember his smile,” she said.
“Marco had a smile that would light up the room.
“When he walked in, his smile used to light up the room.
“Like my sister said, he was different. He was more caring, more loving, more affectionate and it’s still hard every day we have to go on knowing he’s not here.
“He saw his future. He wanted to be something, he wanted to be different but then someone took him from us, so at the end of the day you go on with your life but then you still think about where he would be now. That’s what I really miss about him.
“I just wanted to see him be a man. I wanted to see what he would have been in life.”
With the seven-year anniversary of Marco’s death just a few months away, there is still no sexual offenders register, despite legislation being passed to bring it into being almost five years ago.
In late 2013, amendments to the Sexual Offenses Act and the Child Protection Act were debated and passed.
The bills were to provide for the creation of a sexual offenders register and a Mandatory Action Rescuing Children Operation (MARCO) alert.
Despite this, nothing has happened.
Activists have continually called for the enactment of these legislation.
Humes said yesterday that her brother’s death should not be in vain and called for the enactment of Marco’s Law.
“Seeing that we have closure here we can probably move to that next level of making sure that it takes place because at the end of the day his death is not in vain,” Humes said.
“We lost him so something should come out of it, not only Kofhe Goodman being in jail but something should be put in place for the rest of these people that are presently doing this, have been doing this and still out here on the streets because of our court system.”
Humes said she still finds it hard to let her 16-year-old son out of her sight.
“It goes to show that there are still scars left behind,” she said.
“At the end of the day, our country, no matter what, you, me, everybody, we still have people out there…we don’t know who they are, they are walking in the midst of all of us.
“We’re blind. We don’t know who these people are around us and that’s what my fear is when it comes to my kid and I think that should be every parent’s fear because you don’t know who is who.
“So that list is something that is a must to help protect our kids; a tool to prevent some things from happening.
“I totally agree that it’s something we need to make happen as a country, as parents, we need to make it happen.”
Goodman plans to appeal his latest conviction. (Nassau Guardian)