Beheading Trial | ‘I hope they get the sentence they deserve’ - Relative elated at fourth conviction for double murder; killers to know jail time Dec 11
Joeith Lynch completed sixth form at The Queen’s School in St Andrew in 2011 with eight passes and had her eyes set on studying medicine.
By early July that year, according to a relative, the 18-year-old was in the middle of making plans for her tertiary studies when she got a letter from the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) saying that her application had been approved.
But a week after she received the letter, Joeith’s life and that of her devoted mother were snuffed out by hoodlums in a grisly crime that made national headlines.
Joeith and her mother, Charmaine Cover-Rattray, 40, were chopped repeatedly and shot before they were beheaded by a group of about nine men – believed to be members of the Clansman Gang — who barged into their two-bedroom house in the gritty St Catherine community of Lauriston on the night of July 19, 2011.
“Going to university was a must. She wanted to study medicine. She heard about a week before she died [that her application had been approved by SLB],” the relative told The Gleaner yesterday.
Yesterday, Kemar Riley, the last of the five men who were arrested and charged for the double killing, was convicted on two counts of murder in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.
A seven-member jury deliberated for just over two hours before returning the unanimous guilty verdict.
Earlier this month, three others, Adrian Campbell, Fabian Smith and Roshane Goldson, pleaded guilty to non-capital murder for their roles in the crime. All four are to be sentenced on December 11.
“I am elated that justice has been served. Guilty should be the verdict because guilty they are,” said the relative, who spoke on condition that her name not be published out of safety concerns.
“They took them away so gruesomely. Nothing can bring back [Joeith] and her mother, but I hope they get the sentence they deserve …, life.”
Detective Inspector Steadman Bailey, lead investigator in the killing of the two women, told The Gleaner that the don who gave the orders for the slayings and two other men who were involved have since been murdered.
‘Running up mouth’
A day before the women were killed, Scott Thomas, believed to be a member of the Clansman Gang, was beheaded in Lauriston.
According to Bailey, Thomas was slain close to the women’s home, and members of the gang believed that they knew the killers.
“The word was that she was ‘running up har mouth’,” the veteran investigator said, heaping praises on his colleagues who worked with him to crack the case 10 days after the killings made national headlines.
He disclosed that investigators caught a break after Campbell was overheard, during a conversation at the Spanish Town police lock-up, telling another man what had happened inside the women’s house.
“I went to Campbell with all the information …, every detail I heard about what he told the other man. When I presented it to him, he never did anything but tell me that when they left the murder scene, they went to another house and bathed and changed their clothes,” Bailey said.
Campbell admitted, in a videotaped caution statement, that he took up one of the heads, believed to be Lynch’s, and held it “by the hair” as they fled the house.
“[Name withheld] said to me that the head is bleeding too much, I must throw it away. I throw the head in a gully,” he told detectives.
Bailey said he was satisfied that justice had been served, “not just for the family of the deceased, but for the community at large”.