Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Dad haunted by killer kids

Published:Friday | December 4, 2020 | 12:25 AMJonielle Daley/Staff Reporter
Herbert Leslie, 66, still lives with the pain of his adult children who conspired to murder a 36-year-old woman and her infant children in July 2018.
Herbert Leslie, 66, still lives with the pain of his adult children who conspired to murder a 36-year-old woman and her infant children in July 2018.
Herbert Leslie said he would have been willing to testify to the guilt of his children if he had been requested to do so.
Herbert Leslie said he would have been willing to testify to the guilt of his children if he had been requested to do so.
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As Herbert Leslie’s dust-covered hands used a pick-axe to plough the rich soil of his farm in Mavis Bank, St Andrew, he bore a weight far greater than his arched back might suggest.

Leslie is still haunted by the 2018 grisly murder of 36-year-old Kashief Jackson and her two infants, a two-year-old and a seven-day-old, at the hands of his own adult children.

Siblings Jamelia and Javone Leslie will remain behind bars for 36 years.

Herbert Leslie remembers the night of the horrifying incident like it was yesterday.

The 66-year-old recounted being startled by son Javone and another person, who turned out to be Jamelia, walking by after an ominous sense of unease led him outside his house in the wee hours of the morning on July 18, 2018. He said his paternal instinct told him that something was wrong.

The siblings pleaded guilty to arson and murder, having stabbed Jackson several times and set the house ablaze with the two-year-old child and one-week-old baby inside.

After hearing the news later that day, the patriarch got a call from his sister asking when last he had seen Jamelia.

That was all the confirmation he needed.

Leslie was not utterly shocked because both his children were prone to involvement with “bad company”, he said.

Jamelia, then a quality-control inspector, had a four-year-old child with Jackson’s common-law husband, Artnel Williams, a farmer. At the time of the incident, Jamelia and Williams were still in an intimate relationship though Williams lived with Jackson and their children in the nearby community of Tower Hill.

SHAME AND GUILT

Leslie disclosed that he bears shame by association but has learnt over time to accept the guilt of Jamelia and Javone. His two other children have fled the community.

“I guess weh you cyaa cure, you going haffi endure,” Leslie said sombrely, crediting his Christian faith for giving him resilience.

He said he would have been willing to testify against his children if asked. The forlorn father said that he was the one who told the police to review the surveillance footage from the cameras at the coffee factory to observe who had traversed the premises between 2 o’clock and 4 that fateful morning.

Though the community members continue to extend much encouragement, he is still pained by the gruesome memories. Jamelia showed more remorse, he said, but Javone reportedly flippantly emphasised that the incident had already occurred.

Leslie has only once interacted with any family members of the deceased – father of the deceased kids, Artnel Williams.

“Him say to me say him under stress ‘cause me pickney dem kill off him pickney dem,” recalled Leslie.

Behaviour specialist Olando Sinclair said incidents such as these weigh heavily on all parties, leaving a legacy of pain especially on both Leslie and Williams as fathers – one with two dead children and the other with incarcerated siblings.

Those living with the fallout from such grave personal tragedy should engage in group therapy as well as one-on-one counselling.

Additionally, Sinclair warns that people should not take threats lightly, but report them to the police.

“A restorative justice session would have been appropriate to discuss all the possible issues to come to a resolution or understanding,” he said, adding that the incident could have been prevented.

jonielle.daley@gleanerjm.com