A 15-year prison term was on Monday imposed on Corwyn Arthur, who has pleaded guilty to killing his lover’s 42-year-old reputed husband, Claude De Jonge.
Though initially indicted by State Prosecutor Lisa Cave for murder, 34-year-old Arthur called “Cross Eye” elected to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
He admitted that on May 10, 2018, in the county of Demerara, he unlawfully killed De Jonge, also known as “Sonno”, a taxi driver of Lot 915 South Amelia’s Ward, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice). Media reports are that De Jonge and Tonya Samuels were involved in a long-term relationship.
The woman also shared a secret relationship with Arthur, who would frequently visit her home at Cinderella City, Mackenzie, Linden. According to reports, on the day in question, Arthur visited the woman’s home where he saw De Jonge and got angry.
The confessed killer left the home and later returned armed with a knife. While De Jonge and his reputed wife laid in bed, Arthur entered their home through an open bedroom window. He stabbed De Jonge several times about the body and then escaped, leaving the injured man lying in a pool of blood.
A post-mortem examination gave De Jonge’s cause of death as shock and haemorrhage due to multiple stab wounds.
At Monday’s sentencing hearing, the court heard through a probation officer, that Arthur served in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) for seven years, but left because of the meagre salary. According to a probation officer, Arthur’s family members described him as a very caring and helpful young man but noted that he has problems with anger management.
Similarly, the probation officer disclosed that members of the confessed killer’s Amelia’s Ward, Linden community said he was mannerly. Officials at the prisons also shared similar sentiments about Arthur. The probation officer told the court that prison officials indicated that Arthur was a cooperative inmate who exercised patience and demonstrated the ability to resolve issues.
She said that those officials indicated that whenever Arthur was negatively confronted by other prisoners, he would report it to the prison authority instead of retaliating. Arthur serves as a prison orderly and he also operates the brush cutter. De Jonge’s relative said he was loving, hardworking, and helpful.
While he had no biological children, the probation officer said that De Jonge parented Samuels’ children and his nieces and nephews. The probation officer revealed that Arthur and De Jonge were not known to each other before the triangular love affair. Samuels, on the other hand, told the probation officer that both men were good to her since they provided financial support to her and her children.
Charlene De Younge, the now dead man’s sister said that his memories will live on. “It is very sad to learn about how he died. It broke my heart when he died. He had a cruel and painful death and did not deserve it. I have had sleepless nights trying to grapple with his passing,” the grieving woman cried.
When given a chance to address the court, Arthur said, “I would like to give my remorse to the deceased’s family. I am sorry for my actions. I was in a position where either one of us could have lost our lives. I am sorry for that.”
“I am kindly asking you to be lenient with me,” Arthur pleaded as he begged Justice Sandil Kissoon for leniency. Arthur’s lawyer Rachael Bakker told the court that her client is attending anger management classes so that he could be a better person when he is released back into society.
First and last time
Justice Kissoon in sentencing the killer noted that the country at this juncture is confronted with a wave of killings and acts of brutalities. The Judge pointed out that in each matter, the sentence imposed has to be in accordance with the particular circumstances.
In Arthur’s case, Justice Kissoon noted that the mitigating factors were “overwhelming.” Among other things, he pointed to Arthur’s “expression of real remorse.” The Judge further pointed out that Arthur was a member of the Disciplined Forces for seven years and has no previous convictions.
Moreover, the Judge also took into consideration his early guilty plea, his “relative youth” at the time he committed the offence, and the favourable probation report. According to Justice Kissoon, these factors infer that there is much scope for Arthur’s reform for rehabilation and reintegration into society.
Justice Kissoon disclosed that the only two aggravating factors, in this case, were the use of a deadly weapon to commit the crime and the multiple injuries De Jonge sustained.
“Mr Arthur, let this be the first and the last time sir. Never again! You have been given an opportunity to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society. Please make use of that opportunity. I must never see you again in any courts in any jurisdiction in this country,” said Justice Kissoon to Arthur.
In the end, Arthur was sentenced to 15 years in jail. The prison authorities were ordered to deduct the time he spent in pre-trial custody from the sentence. This case was called at the High Court in Demerara.