Man convicted for Bartica/Lusignan massacres pleads guilty to 2007 murders, armed robberies

0

Michael Caesar [Stabroel News photo]
Michael Caesar also known as “Capone” today pleaded guilty on two counts of manslaughter and two counts of robbery under arms charges.

He was arraigned at the High Court in Demerara before Justice Simone Morris Ramlall via Zoom.

Caesar, who had been part of the notorious Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins gang, was initially indicted for December 16, 2007, murders of Fazil Hakim called ‘Boyee’, 25, and Rajesh Singh called ‘Rabbit,’ 35, which occurred at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.

However, he opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. He admitted that on the day in question, he killed both men.

Further, he also pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery under arms. It is alleged that on December 16, 2007, at the same location, Caesar, along with others, while armed with guns and cutlasses, robbed two men of cash, jewellery, and other valuables.

Justice Ramlall, having considered the nature and circumstances under which the offences were committed, along with the fact that firearms were used, sentenced Caesar to nine years’ imprisonment on each of the two counts of robbery under-arms and 13 years on the two counts of manslaughter. The sentences will run concurrently.

The judge had initially sentenced him to 36 years’ imprisonment for manslaughter. But she deducted 11 years for his early guilty plea and another 12 years for the time he spent on remand. Hence, he will be serving 13 years.

For the robbery under arms, he was sentenced to 30 years but having considered his early guilty plea, she deducted 10 years and 11 years that he spent on remand. He will then serve nine years. The sentences will run concurrently with the 60 years prison term he is currently serving for the Bartica and Lusignan massacres.

The convict becomes eligible for parole after serving 40 years. The indictment against “Capone” was presented by State Prosecutors Tuanna Hardy and Tyra Bakker.

The prosecution’s case contended that at the time “Capone” told police that he was the ‘lookout man’ of the group of men who invaded a liquor bar at Lot 82, Agriculture Road, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara (ECD), and carried out the killings and robberies.

Following the massacre, Caesar fled to neighbouring Suriname but was apprehended two years later by police.

The prosecutions are also contending that the killings and robberies are deliberate and that his sentencing should reflect the precise nature of the offenses.

“Capone”, who was represented by layer Maxwell McKay, asked the court to be remorse given that his client would have confessed to the role he played in the crime.

In December 2016, Chief Justice Roxane George sentenced Caesar to 60- and 45-years imprisonment for unlawfully killing 20 persons during the Lusignan and Bartica massacres. In these two cases, Caesar was indicted for murder but opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.

He was sentenced to 45 years jail each on eight counts of manslaughter for the Lusignan massacre—a total of 360 years. But more was to come. He was further jailed for 60 years, each on 12 counts of manslaughter for the Bartica massacre—a total of 720 years.

This brought his total sentenced to 1080 years; however, Justice George ordered that the 60 years and 45 years sentences are to be served concurrently.