Shallow grave murder: Man found guilty, gets 65 years sentence

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Lakeraj Fredericks, of La Grange, West Bank Demerara, who was found guilty of murdering his brother-in-law, Clifton Bonus, in June 2011, will spend the next 65 years behind bars. Bonus’s body was found buried in a two-and-a-half foot shallow grave at Old England Backdam, Linden with two gunshot wounds to the head.

Jailed: Lakeraj Fredericks

Moments before Fredericks was sentenced on Monday, he begged the court for mercy, but State Prosecutor Siand Dhurjon asked that the full extent of the law be imposed, with the aim of sending a strong message that persons could not get away with murdering people, especially over marijuana seeds.

High Court Judge, Justice Navindra Singh said the convict showed no remorse, adding that he continued to deny the accusations despite overwhelming evidence showing guilt. As such, the Judge started the sentence at 60 years and added five years for the use of a firearm. The Prison Service was ordered to deduct the years Fredericks spent awaiting trial.

The 12-member jury made their unanimous decision after two hours of deliberations at the Demerara High Court last week. More than 12 witnesses had testified during the trial.

Fredericks, who strongly denied committing the crime, said Police forced him to sign a confession statement that he could not read. The prosecution, however, contended that the defendant had called his mother just two days after carrying out the crime and confessed that Bonus was shot before hanging up the phone.

He was jointly charged with a then 16-year-old accomplice, who allegedly helped him to bury the body, but the teenager was released after a no-case submission was upheld in the Magistrate’s Court. It was the said teen, Harley Tyson, who had led Police through the forest to find the murdered man.

Later in June 2011, Fredericks confessed to Police investigators that he was involved, but claimed that he only shot the deceased once and another accomplice finished the job after the gun was passed to him. This version of events, however, proved “untrue”. Bonus, who was 21 at the time of his demise, was about to become a father.

The accused was represented by defence counsel Madan Kissoon.

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