Daughter, hitman sentenced to death for Ruby businessman’s murder

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L-R: Bibi Nazeela Habiboodean, Habiboodean, and Linden Lewis

Bibi Nazeela Habiboodean and Linden Lewis were today sentenced to death for the 2008 murder of 76-year-old Habiboodean, a businessman of Ruby, East Bank Essequibo (EBE).

Bibi, the daughter of the now dead man, and Lewis, who was a hired hitman, were found guilty by a 12-member jury following the completion of the one-month long trial in the Demerara High Court.

They were jointly charged with the man’s murder which occurred between February 14 and 15, 2008.

According to reports, the elderly man died after he was badly beaten at his home.

The businessman’s widow and one of his employees were initially charged with his murder.

However, owing to insufficient evidence, the case against them was thrown out at the end of a preliminary inquiry.

The investigation into the murder of the pensioner had gone cold for several years, until 2016, when police received new leads which led to the arrest of his daughter and the alleged hitman.

Earlier this week, during closing arguments before Justice Sandil Kissoon, the defence and prosecution painted different pictures of Habiboodean’s death.

Senior State Counsel Lisa Cave, who led the case for the prosecution, called Detective Police Inspector Devon Lowe to the witness box, from where he disclosed the contents of Lewis’s caution statement.

The Police witness testified that, in the presence of other officers, Lewis told him that Bibi promised to give him $6M, a house, a car, and a piece of land to murder her father. Lewis, Inspector Lowe said, told ranks that Bibi wanted her father dead because, unlike her other siblings, she did not get any of his assets.

“He [Habiboodean] alone went sitting down in a chair, and he ask me what I doing in the house, and I tell he he daughter send me to kill him. Then I start fuh cuff he up on he neck, chest and belly, and he stop move,” Inspector Lowe said, as he recounted what Lewis had told him.

The Police witness said Lewis told him, “So I guh way to Puruni Backdam. Two years after I come back, I hear the matter finish, and I ask John what happened to my car, my money and house and land, and he tell me the money done on lawyer and tuck shop, and I ain’t got nothing to get. That was it, and I never ask back for anything, and I never see back the woman.

“Dem take advantage of me, cause I deh young and didn’t thinking straight. I even hear my uncle Michael get $7 million from [Bibi] for this same wuk. I did lash [her] father in he head with a wood, and I throw away the wood at the back of the yard,” Lewis said in the caution statement.

However, Bibi, in her defence, denied knowing Lewis prior to her father’s death. Her lawyer, Roger Yearwood, asked her, “Did you at any time tell this accused [Lewis] that you would give him $6 million, house, land, and car fuh done your father?” The woman responded in the negative.

Yearwood again asked, “Were you in any way involved in the death of your father?” Bibi answered, “Sir, I never do that, sir.” In telling her side of the story, Bibi also refuted Inspector Lowe’s assertion of a confrontation being held between her and her co-accused at the CID Headquarters.