The 25-year-old woman who was found guilty, by a 12-member jury, of fatally poisoning her two children was today sentenced to 98 years in prison when she appeared before Justice Navindra Singh at the Demerara High Court.
One the first count of manslaughter, Hofoswana Awena Rutherford was sentenced to 45 years, and on the second count, she was sentenced to 53 years.
Justice Singh, before passing down the sentence, questioned why the indictment was not that of murder instead of manslaughter.
According to him, the evidence presented indicated that the woman’s act was premeditated.
On March 15, 2018, Rutherford was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter.
Her sentencing was postponed twice, after she was heard screaming and subsequently collapsed on the courtroom floor and after she made a request that the Court be furnished with a probation report.
She was found guilty of giving her children, one-year-old Jabari Codogan and four-year-old Odascia Codogan, 2 halves of one carbon tablet which caused their deaths on March 27, 2014.
During the trial, Rutherford maintained that she thought she was buying cold tablets for them.
She also drank two of the same tablets and was hospitalised for several days.
Awena and the children were staying with the defendant’s sister, Monica Sealey and her husband Curt, who both testified that they never noticed the children suffering from any cold symptoms prior to their deaths.
Rutherford maintained that she never bought rat poison and that the police treated her unfairly.
However, multiple police witnesses maintained that Rutherford repeatedly said she was stressed and had problems and that she indeed gave her children the supposed cold tablets.
Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh confirmed that the children died from pesticide poisoning by way of ingesting aluminum phosphide which is commonly known as carbon tablets.