30 years jail for man who killed baby in Kaneville house fire

L-R: Nigel Dodson and Romain Seth

A 24-year-old man was today sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for setting fire to a house at Kaneville, East Bank Demerara (EBD) which, in the process, killed an eight-month-old boy.

Following a trial before Justice Sandil Kissoon, Nigel Dodson was found guilty of the January 23, 2017, murder of Romain Seth, which occurred during a fire at a house located at 906 Fourth Field, Kaneville, EBD.

The early morning fire destroyed the three-bedroom home of Michelle Menezes – several days after Dodson, who resided at the premises, had threatened to kill her entire family, over his gun which had gone missing.

When the jury delivered the verdict, Dodson, who appeared virtually in court from prison, looked expressionless. When given a chance to speak, he maintained that he was innocent and questioned what he was still doing in jail.

State Prosecutor Nafeeza Baig urged the court to impose a sentence that reflects the nature and gravity of the offence. Baig described Dodson as a “menace to society”, stating that the killing was premeditated and that even after he was found guilty, he expressed no remorse.

In passing sentence, Justice Kissoon noted that Dodson set fire to the home having no regard for the value of human life. The Judge said that an entire family could have been destroyed as other persons were living at the home. According to the Judge, Seth was an innocent baby who did not get to enjoy the wonders of life.

In this regard, Justice Kissoon noted that the court has to ensure that the punishment imposed for the crime serves as a deterrent to like-minded individuals who may want to consider committing such a heinous act.

Because of Dodson’s young age, the Judge declined to impose the life sentence as he believes the young convict can be rehabilitated for reintegration into society. Justice Kissoon, in calculating an appropriate sentence for Dodson, started at a base of 25 years.

To that, the Judge added five years for aggravating factors, including premeditation, endangering the lives of others, and destruction of a property. Dodson’s sentence stands at 30 years in prison; he only becomes eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 25 years.

Dodson, who was represented by Attorney-at-Law Adrian Thompson, was on trial at the High Court in Georgetown.