Recaptured escapee gets life imprisonment for attempted murder

first_imgAttempted murderRecaptured prison escapee Stafrei Alexander of Laing Avenue, Georgetown was on Thursday found guilty of attempting to kill his neighbour Curtis Thom, whom he was said to have shot twice in March 2015.The 12-member jury returned an 11-to-one verdict after more than two hours of deliberation.After perusing a probation report from Alexander’s previous trial, which had ended in November last year, Justice Sandil Kissoon sentenced Alexander to life imprisonment even as his attorney, Stanley Moore, appealed for mercy in a plea of mitigation that lasted for more than 30 minutes.After the sentence was imposed, the judge revealed that life imprisonment was the maximum sentence prescribed for the offence. After brief back-and-forth legal discussions in open court, Moore was advised by Justice Kissoon to retain certain arguments for another arm of the court system.In the probation report, it was revealed that the defendant was born in New Amsterdam, Berbice, and grew up with his grandparents rather than his parents; and Alexander admitted that this had impacted upon him.Alexander maintained his innocence as Police led him off in tight security. According to the indictment, the 35-year-old man attempted to murder Thom by way of discharging a loaded firearm in his direction. Thom was shot hours after his daughter’s christening.The court heard that, based on his beliefs, Thom proceeded to walk into his home backwards after the christening, when Alexander mumbled remarks and pointed a gun at him. The victim was hospitalised for seven weeks, during which he obtained surgery to correct his injuries. Based on the account of an expert witness, a .38 revolver was the firearm of choice on the night in question.At the end of his previous trial before Justice Brassington Reynolds in November 2017, Alexander was set to be sentenced after being found guilty, but prior to deliberations on October 30, 2017, it was discovered that one of the jurors was below the age of 18.That juror was discharged, and the remaining 11 deliberated and found Alexander guilty by a 9-2 proportion for the March 23, 2015, attempted murder.However, Justice Reynolds conceded that he had “erroneously” formed the opinion that a verdict of such proportion could be accepted by the court.Alexander is an inmate who had fled lawful custody multiple times. Also known as Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander, he was apprehended in late July 2017 after a special operation in Berbice. His apprehension came weeks after he had fled the Camp Street Penitentiary during an inferno that occurred around the same time when several prisoners, including death row inmate Mark Royden “Smallie” Williams and now dead former policeman and prisoner Uree Varswyck had fled.Prison officer Odinga Wickham was killed during that ordeal, which flattened the century-old sections of the prison. Alexander had previously fled lawful custody for six months before finally being recaptured at Kurupukari Crossing in the Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) in May 2016.Attorneys Lisa Cave and Orithia Schmidt appeared for the prosecution. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img read more