7 years jail for youth who hammered La Grange resident to death  

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FILE: Christopher Cheong on August 3, 2016, when he was remanded to prison

A 20-year-old man pleaded guilty to hammering 49-year-old James Steward, also known as “Buby,” to death in July 2016.

Christopher Cheong was arraigned at the High Court in Demerara before Justice Sandil Kissoon on Friday.

Initially, he was indicted for murder, however, Cheong opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. He admitted that on July 17, 2016, he killed James Steward.

Dead: James Stewart

The indictment against Cheong was presented by State Prosecutors Nafeeza Baig and Tuanna Hardy. The prosecution’s case contended that on the day in question at about 02:00h, the accused, while being intoxicated, went to his cousin’s house at David Rose Street, Bagotsville, West Bank Demerara (WBD).

While there, he picked up a hammer and, after that, went to find Steward at his home in Unity Street, La Grange, (WBD), and dealt the man a lash to the head with the hammer.

He then returned home at about 03:00h with blood on his clothes and holding a hammer with blood, where he informed his cousin that he just killed someone. He then retired to bed and woke up at about 06:30h, where he washed his clothes.

The deceased was found around 05:00h the said morning by police, lying in a pool of blood at his Unity Street, La Grange home.

At the time he committed the heinous crime, he was 16 years old. Justice Kissoon had initially sentenced Cheong to 25 year’s imprisonment but reduced that by one year three months for his early guilty pleas and another eight years for plea in mitigation by the defence and four years for the time he spent in prison. An additional two years were added for aggravating factors presented by the State.

Cheong will serve a seven-year jail term for manslaughter. He was represented by lawyer Max McKay.