Death penalty removed, October 20 sentencing for Cocoa Piece killer Rushane Barnett

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Rushane Barnett.

In Jamaica, the sentencing of Cocoa Piece mass murderer Rushane Barnett has been set for October 20 in the Home Circuit Court, following the removal of his death penalty by Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn.

Justice Leighton Pusey, the presiding judge, said he needs time to consider the sentence that will be imposed.

Barnett has been further remanded.

The DPP’s office had served notice that it would seek the death penalty during Barnett’s first court appearance for the murder of his cousin Kemesha Wright and her four children- Kimanda Smith, 15, Sharalee Smith, 12, Rafaella Smith, 5, and 23-month-old Kishawn Henry Jr.

On June 21, the victims were discovered with chop wounds and slashed throats inside their home in Cocoa Piece, Clarendon.

At the sentencing hearing earlier, Llewellyn argued that Barnett should get life in prison and serve 55 years before being eligible for parole.

She explained: “The Crown is obliged to remove the death penalty as an option.”

“This is a matter of law. Everyone who pleads guilty is entitled to some amount of credit,” she added.

Llewellyn proposed that the presiding judge, Justice Leighton Pusey, go beyond the standard sentence range of 15 years to life in prison.

She stated that Barnett’s sentence should begin with life in prison for each count of murder and not be eligible for parole until after serving 60 years and nine months.

The DPP further said the crime is one of the worst her office has seen in Jamaica.

In response, Barnett’s lawyer, Tamika Harris, requested that the judge give him a 33 1/3 percent discount on the sentence.

“He has saved the court’s time and resources,” Harris said, adding that Rushane Barnett’s guilty plea shows sign of remorse.

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