Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Man gets six-year prison sentence for double killing

Published:Monday | July 29, 2019 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Staff Reporter

A St Catherine man who stabbed an elderly woman and her son to death has been sentenced to six years in prison for the double killing.

Jeffrey Campbell, 43, was sentenced in the St Catherine Circuit Court last Thursday by Justice Crescencia Brown Beckford.

A week earlier, Campbell pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter in relation to the deaths of Winnifred Williams, an 80-year-old returning resident, and her son, Michael Williams, 58, at their Linstead, St Catherine, home in November 2013.

Prosecutors had a caution statement Campbell gave investigators detailing how he used a knife to kill the elderly woman before turning to her son after they refused to pay him the agreed sum for repair work he had done on their home.

Brown Beckford, in explaining the sentence, said she started at 18 years at hard labour, adding three years to the usual 15-year term because there were two victims; the manner in which they were killed; and the fact that several household items were stolen.

But the judge indicated that she gave Campbell a 35 per cent discount (6.3 years) for his early guilty plea and shaved off the five years and seven months he spent in custody awaiting trial.

Jamaica’s chief prosecutor, Paula Llewellyn, told The Gleaner and family members that the guilty plea to manslaughter was accepted because there was “legal provocation”.

Llewellyn declined to comment on the sentence but pointed out that in Jamaica’s judicial system, prosecutors are not allowed to address the court during sentencing and do not have the right of appeal.

“Unlike defence attorneys, we do not have the right to address the court to urge certain aspects of the victim’s story. We can only outline the facts and indicate whether we accept a plea,” she said.

“We are in a straitjacket,” said Llewellyn.

Among the evidence prosecutors had in their possession were the results of the two post-mortem examinations.

According to one of the reports, Michael was stabbed a dozen times, including seven times to the neck, while Winnifred died from three stab wounds to the neck.

Campbell told investigators that Williams contracted him to repair the kitchen at her home but refused to pay him after he completed the task.

In the caution statement Campbell gave investigators, he said that the elderly woman insisted that she would rather die before she paid him the money he demanded.

He admitted to holding the weapon at Winnifred’s throat before he “found himself pushing the knife into her neck”.

Campbell acknowledged, too, that when Michael told him he had no money to pay him, he “got more and more angry and stabbed him”.

The police report that Michael was found with his hands and feet bound by electrical wire.