Young man imprisoned for six years for killing man who insulted him
A DECISION to strike a 52-year-old man in the head after being called derogatory names, means that the 19-year-old attacker must spend six years in jail for killing him.
Justice Brian Cottle announced this sentence on Friday, March 13, when Asbert Rodney of Edinboro was sentenced for the manslaughter of Christopher Wilson, a mentally ill man of Edinboro.
Although Rodney was indicted for murder, the prosecution, led by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sejilla McDowall, accepted a guilty plea for manslaughter, which Rodney entered after securing the legal advice of defense lawyer Israel Bruce.
On September 28, 2017, Rodney, only 19 years old at the time, was at a neighbourhood shop with Wilson. At the shop there was an exchange of insults. Rodney mocked Wilson, who had a history of mental illness, saying a woman had driven him crazy.
Wilson returned the insult by calling Rodney a “bulla man”.
A female resident of the area told them to calm themselves, following which the two men exited the shop. However, they continued arguing. In response, Rodney armed himself with a metal rod, and brought this down on the back of Wilson’s head.
Assisted by villagers, Wilson was taken to the hospital, where he spent some time. However, on October 8, 2017, ten days after the incident, he died from the complications and brain injury triggered from the blunt force trauma resulting from the metal rod attack.
When he was arrested, Rodney told the police that Wilson was cursing him, and that the older man had tried to punch him twice.
Additionally, Bruce noted, in mitigation for his client, that Rodney was “rather helpful to the police officers in pointing out distances, locations and the like.”
Also to be considered was that Rodney was provoked, the lawyer stated.
“This was an offence for which young Mr Rodney lost his cool, lost self control, lost his temper, and he inflicted, from all material evidence, a single blow to Mr Christopher Wilson,” Bruce mitigated.
He told the court that his client “realizes that he ought to have exercised a greater degree of restraint in the given circumstances.”
Rodney, is a secondary school dropout who did not make it past form one after failing three times, and he has grown up under unfortunate circumstances, Bruce also noted.
He also had no relevant previous convictions.
The offender also claimed that he did not intend to do what he did, and that he did not intend to kill Wilson.
The prison authorities told the social workers that Rodney has been a quiet, cooperative individual since incarceration. The social inquiry report named him a good candidate for rehabilitation.
“And that is important because that is one of the things that the court aims at when it imposes criminal punishment,” Cottle stated.
As is usual for manslaughter, the legal sentencing process began at a term of 15 years in prison.
Aggravating factors included that a weapon was used, the incident was committed in full view of the public, and “it is possible that the victim may have been vulnerable on account of his mental deficit.”
On the other side of matters, he used a weapon of opportunity, and the attack was spontaneous. There was “significant provocation” and a single blow was struck. Further, the mitigating factors that the lawyer suggested were taken on board. A guilty plea also meant that there was a one third discount.
These factors were applied to the legal equation, resulting in a subtraction of nine years from the 15 year sentence.
Therefore, six years is the full jail term the young man must spend. However, Rodney has been incarcerated since he was arrested following the incident. Consequently, his remaining sentence was three years, six months and 18 days on the day of sentencing.