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Ottley Hall man gets 20 years for killing woman

Ottley Hall man gets 20 years for killing woman

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Although a social inquiry report said Atiba Bess has good prospects for reform, a judge on Friday sentenced the 20-year-old Ottley Hall man to 20 years in jail for manslaughter.{{more}}

Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle said he had to consider the family of the deceased when passing sentence.

The sentence at the High Court was in connection with the death of Sherene Clouden on December 8, 2008.

Bess, who was initially charged with murder, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on May 25.

Just before sentencing, Bess’ lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Browne, told the court that her client was only 16 years old when the incident occured and that he must be commended for taking the step to plead guilty to manslaughter.

“He admitted that he was under threat when he fired the shot…” Bacchus-Browne said.

On that tragic night, the deceased, 23, of Edinboro, went with Jomo Brudy and Theron Prince to the home of Carlos Franklin of Ottley Hall to put on lights at the house.

At the time, Franklin was incarcerated and Brudy was the caretaker of the house.

When they were there, about 6:30 p.m., a man accosted them regarding their presence in the area.

The man said it was OK for Brudy to be there, but not Prince. He further said “We going hot up the place.”

After doing what they had to do at Franklin’s house, Brudy, Prince, and Clouden were walking in the main road when Brudy and Clouden were shot.

She died on the spot.

Bacchus-Browne said her client has a desire to “do better” and that he will make the best of his life if given the chance to start over.

“He’s already served his sentence and I ask the court to take that into consideration, that he’s done at least six years in jail time…” Bacchus-Browne added.

But Bruce-Lyle said “… in these kinds of cases, lives are always overlooked.

“That life can’t be returned. We seem to be trivialising these kinds of offences … There was a use of a firearm and this is not his first encounter with a firearm.

“He may not have intended for the person to die, but he used a firearm and in the process someone lost their life and it was all in the pursuit of gang involvement,” Bruce-Lyle added.

He said that the aggravating factors outweigh mitigating factors of the case.

“I consider the use of firearms to settle disputes is alarming. It is becoming something of concern to me. People have no regard for people’s lives. I’m taking this thing with gang warfare in SVG very seriously. We need to take stock of ourselves and we need to clamp down on our youth.

“To make people wake up, you have to give them a shock. You cannot do these things and receive a tap on the wrist. I’m considering the family of the victim. They need justice, too,” the judge further stated. (KW)

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