Man to serve 30 years in prison for killing stepsister, nephew

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– duo slaughtered after accusing him of rape

By Shemuel Fanfair

Almost four years after he stabbed his stepsister and her son to death while they were asleep, 21-year-old Orin Rodrigues was handed two 30-year prison sentences on Thursday by Justice Brassington Reynolds at the Demerara High Court for the heinous crimes.

The stabbing incident stemmed from an accusation that he had sexually assaulted a female relative at Moblissa, Linden/Soesdyke Highway.

Earlier this month, Rodrigues pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and admitted that on November 30, 2013, he killed Molly James and her 15-year-old son, Aaron James.

At the sentencing, Rodrigues incessantly begged for mercy, claiming that he was sorry for what he had done.

“I sorry sir for what happened; I wish I could bring back the family, I’d like you to have mercy on me. In prison, I does pray to God and I normally pray for the [victims’] family. I got love for everyone,” Rodrigues told the court.

Self-confessed double-killer Orin Rodrigues will spend the next 30 years behind bars (Carl Croker photo)

His probation report, which was presented by Senior Probation Officer Michelle Small, detailed the difficult circumstances under which the killer was raised, which was underscored by his parents’ separation. The court heard that Rodrigues left school at Primary Three (Grade Five) and was deprived of basic welfare needs. He was born in North West District, Region One (Barima-Waini) but relocated to Moblissa at age 10 with his mother and stepfather, who were farmers.

Rodrigues, who was just 17 years old at the time of the killings, was described as quiet, anti-social and would imbibe with relatives. Probation Officer Small reported that heavy alcohol use affected his family and the wider community. The officer’s research also revealed that since the death of Molly and Aaron, the boy’s father drank even more heavily and was eventually killed in a motor vehicular accident, which put a strain on the couple’s other children.

Rodrigues’ Attorney, Maxwell McKay said his client has been taking remedial classes to learn to read and write. He had also asked for a reasonable sentence for the young man to better himself and add to society.Before handing down the sentence, Justice Reynolds termed the entire case a “tragedy” given the lack of social services offered to the remote community.

“It is clear that when you speak, you did not benefit from an adequate education. Your circumstances could have been different if you had an education,” Justice Reynolds surmised.

The Judge however noted that the imposition of the sentence was a matter of justice; highlighting that two lives were lost when Rodrigues reverted to violence. In arriving at a computation, Justice Reynolds observed that the World Health Organisation’s 2015 report on life expectancy for males in Guyana reflected 63 years. As such, he calculated that Rodrigues probably has 42 more years to live and started the sentence from that point.

A cumulative total of 12 years was deducted from the overall sentence. Five years were deducted for his guilty plea; four years for time spent awaiting trial while three years were subtracted for other mitigating factors. Justice Reynolds maintained that a strong message must be sent to deter others from carrying out such crimes. The 30-year sentences will run concurrently.

According to the particulars of the matter, on November 29, 2013, a relative was washing clothes at the Moblissa residence when Rodrigues had allegedly gone up and placed a knife to her neck and had sexual intercourse with her, without her consent. After the ordeal, the young woman told James what occurred and the family had reported the matter to the Police. However, this angered Rodrigues who was said to have engaged in intercourse with the child, one day prior.

It was contended that the self-confessed double killer made open promises to kill his stepsister and “her pickney” with a knife. He carried out the acts just after midnight on November 30, after which he made good his escape. He was found on December 1, 2013, about two and half miles away from where the incident had taken place.

In his caution statement to Police, Rodrigues said that he killed the mother and her teen son due to the report which was made to Police about him raping the teenager.

During preliminary proceedings at the Magistrate’s Court, he claimed that Police beat him, held his hand and forced him to sign to statement but it was upheld that the statement was freely given.

Prosecutors Tiffini Lyken, Shawnette Austin and Lisa Cave presented the State’s case, while the self-confessed double killer was represented by defence counsel Maxwell McKay.

Rodrigues has taken up boxing whiles being incarcerated. After receiving his 30-year sentence, he told this publication he preferred to have freedom.

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