Tue | Mar 21, 2023

Killer wished he could bring back lover

As Bromfield gets 18-year sentence, deceased’s dad says there’s no justice here

Published:Wednesday | June 1, 2022 | 12:13 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

With his head bowed, Andre Bromfield's posture evoked defeat as he was sentenced to 18 years and five months in prison for killing his lover, 24-year-old Shantell Whyte, more than two years ago.

The former delivery supervisor's original sentence of 25 years was reduced by seven years after Judge Lorna Shelly-Williams gave consideration to the two and half years Bromfield spent in lock-up, among other factors.

Bromfield, who was initially charged with and pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and one count of illegal possession of firearm, affirmed his culpability for manslaughter on May 16, which the prosecution accepted on the basis of provocation.

The social-enquiry report presented in the Manchester Circuit Court on Tuesday indicated that Bromfield expressed deep regret for his actions during his interview.

“If money could bring the deceased back to life, he would spend every cent without reservation,” the report said.

Bromfield admitted to having an extramarital affair with Whyte for one year, which he said he tried ending “because it wasn't fair to his wife,” but re-engaged with Whyte nonetheless.

However, those aspects of the report had negligible, if any, weight on reasons for sentence reduction.

Guided by the Jamaica Sentencing Guidelines, The Criminal Justice Amendment Act, 2015 and the Offences Against the Person Act, Judge Shelly-Williams also gave Bromfield a 10 per cent discount, which amounts to two and half years, and removed two additional years based on antecedents and evidence of good character from the community, a former employer, and family.

Attorney-at-law Norman Godfrey, who represented Bromfield, sought in his final arguments to appeal for a lesser sentence by reiterating details of the social-enquiry report that related to Bromfield's hypertension diagnosis since being in custody; the hospitalisation of his wife of nine years; his role as sole breadwinner for his family, and the impact on his only child, who has been shielded from the truth and told he is away for work.

Godfrey emphasised that Bromfield had taken responsibility for his actions by turning himself in, pleading guilty, and recommitting his life to God, despite being exploited by Whyte for financial benefit, which led to the “egregious act”.

However, Judge Shelly-Williams stated that a lesser sentence would shock public conscience.

Despite his guilty plea, among other factors, the judge said the evidence against Bromfield was overwhelming. She also said that her sentencing consideration centred on the loss of life, and the fact that the shooting was committed in the presence of employees at their workplace.

Judge Shelly-Williams indicated that Bromfield's statement to the police was strong evidence against him.

He had claimed to have given Whyte everything, “build her all two-bedroom house, pay off her credit card, and mi realise say she have another man ... . Mi see this youth a kiss-kiss her up and mi talk to her and she a diss mi up. Mi just snap.”

Whyte's mother, Cyrena Russell, who also took the stand, questioned Bromfield's reasons for killing her daughter. She compared the pain she was enduring to a sore that could not be healed.

“He should never have took up a gun and shot her. Even if it was provocation, he should have chosen a method other than death … ,” Russell said, struggling to fight back tears.

“He will have to repent for his sins for what he has done to my daughter.”

Whyte's father, Alton Whyte, expressed displeasure with the judgment.

“How you fi have a man weh murder and you bring it down to manslaughter? What kinda thing is that?” he asked.

Whyte said his only regret was that he did not secure legal representation for the family.