Sterfon Barlow, 38, was on Wednesday handed a 10-year prison sentence on a manslaughter charge in regard to the July 2, 2016 unlawful killing of Sherwin Johnson, his lover’s reputed husband.
In February, Barlow and his lover, Alexis Turpin, went on trial for Johnson’s murder.
That trial, however, ended in a hung jury. Accordingly, Justice Brassington Reynolds had ordered a retrial for both of them. The following month, Barlow opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. He returned before Justice Reynolds on Wednesday for sentencing.
According to reports, Turpin and Johnson had parented a child and had lived together at Chapel Street, Lodge, Georgetown. It has been reported that Johnson arrived home on July 2, 2016 and found Turpin in bed with Barlow, a mason. The heated argument that ensued between the parties escalated into a fight, during which Turpin and Barlow reportedly dealt Johnson several stabs about his body with a knife. They also lashed the man with pieces of wood and a crowbar.
Following the beating, Johnson was hospitalised while Turpin and Barlow were charged with attempted murder. However, after Johnson succumbed to his injuries, the charge against Turpin and Barlow was upgraded to murder.
Barlow and Turpin had each reportedly given cautionary statements detailing their roles in the incident. Turpin is still awaiting trial for the offence. Her case is expected to be called again at the April session of the Demerara Criminal Assizes, which is currently in progress.
Before sentence was passed on the confessed killer, a probation report was presented to the Court.
During an interview with a probation officer, Barlow disclosed that Turpin would invite him to her home at nights. He revealed that one day he visited her during the daytime, but her reputed husband Johnson was at home. According to Barlow, an argument broke out between Turpin and Johnson and Johnson hit her.
Barlow told the probation officer that as a result of Johnson hitting Turpin, he hollered at Johnson, who ran out of the house, tripped, and hit his head on the concrete stairway. He said that when Johnson got up, he armed himself with a piece of wood, attacked him and a fight broke out between them.
The probation officer said that residents in Barlow’s neighbourhood described him as being very helpful and caring, and were shocked at his involvement in this crime. Prison officials, according to the probation officer, described him as a very quiet inmate who attended classes on anger management.
The probation officer further told the court that Barlow has expressed remorse for his actions, and in doing so, stated that he had no intention of killing the man. As such, he told the probation officer that he is begging the Court for leniency, since he has two children, aged five and seven.
Family members of the now dead man have said that their loved one had been a hardworking man who supported his five children. For her part, State Prosecutor Tyra Bakker asked the Court to consider the nature and gravity of the offence when imposing a sentence on Barlow.
In sentencing the confessed killer, Justice Reynolds started at a base of 18 years, from which he made several deductions for factors that included expression of remorse and time spent in pretrial custody. In the end, the Judge ordered Barlow to serve a further 10 years’ imprisonment for the crime.
Barlow was represented by defence counsel Clyde Forde.