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Court jails St Vincent man who drove body in car for hours

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Court jails St Vincent man who drove body in car for hours

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

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KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — A High Court judge has sentenced a 41-year-old man, whom a psychiatrist said suffers from chronic psychotic disorder, to 24 years in jail, after he was convicted of the 2008 murder of a 73 year-old woman whose body he kept in a car for several hours before burying it in a cemetery.

“The victim did nothing to provoke this prisoner. The attack was violent. Even as she lay bleeding on the ground, he administered the coup de grace,” Justice Brain Cottle said as he sentenced Junior Quashie.

The accused, who had pleaded guilty on February 14 this year to the murder of retired librarian, Lorna Allen-Small, had spent nearly 11 years on remand awaiting trial.

The court heard that in April 2008 Allen-Small, who lived alone, drove her car to Indian Bay and sat in the car reading a book for a while before coming out of the vehicle. Quashie, who was nearby, decided to rob the elderly woman of the car, approached her, and demanded the keys.

When she refused and tried to get back into the car, Quashie slammed the door on her hand, breaking it.

He then cut her on the neck and later entered the vehicle where he retrieved a bucket and some plastic sheeting which he used to wrap the woman’s body, and placed it in the back of the car. He then drove around for several hours before burying the body.

When he was questioned by police, Quashie provided them with the keys to the vehicle.

Asked if he had anything to say before being sentenced, Quashie told the court that had he finished his education “I wouldn’t have looked like a fool; the court wouldn’t have made me look like a fool.

“My thought is that you would be mindful and thoughtful and have mercy or leniency on me. Because, ahhhh — that’s all I have to say.”

Justice Cottle said that while the death penalty is still an option here for murder, that option had been closed to the court because the law says that capital punishment is reserved for the worst of the worst cases.

He said considering the cases that have come before the court, he couldn’t say that Quashie’s murder of Allen-Small was one of such case.

“But I thought that the aggravating features are many. The victim was a vulnerable, elderly woman, the prisoner was then age 31. He stands 6-foot-3-inches tall, weighs 230 pounds. He used a weapon against an unarmed woman,” the judge added.

Earlier, the court heard that the psychiatrist had reported that Quashie suffers from chronic psychotic disorder, most likely schizophrenia, for which he continues to require anti-psychotic medication to control his symptoms.

But the psychiatrist concluded that he was fit to plead, fit to instruct counsel, and fit to stand trial.

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