Twenty-four-year old Travis McDougal of East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme, Georgetown, was on Monday sentenced to 25 years in prison when he appeared before Justice Navindra Singh at the Georgetown High Court for the murder of a 43-year-old dredge owner, Ashok Raghu during the execution of a robbery, almost three years ago.
The sentence comes weeks after a 12-member jury found him guilty of the lesser count of manslaughter.
Moments before he handed down the sentence, Justice Singh observed that he was “deeply criticised” by family members of both the accused and deceased. He took into consideration that the jury found McDougal guilty of manslaughter as against a murder charge, which was the original indictment.
Moreover, Nigel Hughes, the accused’s lawyer, pleaded for leniency as he told the court that prior to Raghu’s murder, his client had never had any brushes with the law. The Attorney further noted that on the day of the killing, McDougal had no knowledge of his accomplice’s intentions.
McDougal, who was clutching a bible in court, maintained that he was innocent and begged Justice Singh for mercy. However, State Prosecutor, Tuanna Hardy stressed that the actions of the 24-year-old put the public in danger.
On May 19, 2017, before the 24-year-old was found guilty of manslaughter, he told the court that he knew his accomplice, Jermaine Otto, called “Fungus”, from the time they attended the Lodge Secondary School together.
McDougal recalled that on the night in question, Otto asked him for a drop to Kitty. However, it was while the two were on the motorcycle and had reached the traffic light at Regent and Vlissingen Road that Otto jumped off and proceeded to a car.
“All I hear is shots,” the accused stated, adding that after fleeing the scene, he later heard that the robbery victim had died and his wife injured.
The accused alleged that shortly after the incident, Otto contacted him and said “I hope my name ain’t get call.”
It was reported in the media that on August 8 2014, Raghu and his wife, Shyzaradi Raghu were in their car – PGG 8291 – when they stopped at the traffic lights on Vlissingen Road and Regent Street junction.
McDougal, accompanied by pork knocker, Jermaine Otto allegedly rode up on a CG motorcycle at the driver’s side of the vehicle and shot Raghu to his chest after grabbing a haversack containing G$4M. However, when Shyrazadi snatched back the bag, she was shot once to her thigh.
Raghu was later pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital. Post mortem results confirmed that he died from perforated lung due to a gunshot.
In July of 2015, McDougal and Otto were committed to stand trial for murder at the High Court, however, the pork knocker along with other prisoners, perished in March 2016 in the deadly Camp Street Prison fire.