Rot in jail

St Thomas residents want life without parole for multiple-murder convict

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, March 08, 2018

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Residents of Duhaney Pen in St Thomas, who are still angry at the brutal murder of six members of a family from the community 12 years ago, say they want Michael McLean, the man convicted for the killings, to die in prison.

In fact, some of the residents, along with relatives of the victims, believe that 200 years in prison would be an ideal sentence for the killer.

“A long time dem fi find him guilty; 200 years wid no parole,” said a young man whose mother was among the victims.

“Two hundred seems fair to me,” he added.

McLean was on Tuesday found guilty by a seven-member jury of the February 25, 2006 killings of his girlfriend Terry-Ann Mohammed, 41; her son Jesse O'Gilvie, 8; as well as her niece Patrice Martin-McCool, 30; and her children Lloyd McCool, 2, Jihad McCool, 6, and Sean Chin, 8.

Mohammed's body was found in bushes in Needham Pen, St Thomas with her throat slashed and burns to her torso, while the others, excluding Jihad, were found in Prospect with their throats also slashed on February 26. A week later, Jihad was found buried in a shallow grave in St Mary.

Yesterday when the Jamaica Observer visited the quiet community where the victims had lived, residents and relatives who spoke with the newspaper said they are still upset about the murders and the brutal way in which the victims, including the young children, had lost their lives. However, they were elated at the news of McLean's conviction, which they said will provide them with some amount of relief.

“Long time him fi find guilty, seven life sentence,” said a man who declined to give his name.

A woman with whom the man was talking, interjected: “Fi real, him no fi come back. People still sad and upset.” She, too, did not want to give her name.

A relative of the victims, who gave his name as Michael McPherson, said, “Him guilty as charged and him fi get 150 to 200 years. Him deserve to dead and him deserve guilty.”

“It was a happy day in St Thomas when we heard, and the only thing we sad that many people couldn't go to the trial because of security reasons,” he said. “Government or the court should be able to kill him, but they can't.”

Another woman said: “Mi feel happy and wi still traumatised, but wi all satisfied and I only hope him get what him deserve — life without parole — and him live in prison until him dead; but him nah go live long, him too brutal.

“Mi know him a go fret and dead, and if him live out one life sentence, him nah live out two, and mi jus pray to God fi gimme life fi see it.”

“We shoulda have lethal injection or hanging, dem things deh fi resume cause him jus a go nyam taxpayers' money,” she said while indicating that many people, including herself, still feared McLean

Many of the residents, though, were of the view that the case took too long.

“A long time we want this, so everybody happy. But I think the case took too long, justice shoulda done long time ago. Him must get the full force of the law, no leniency, no parole, cause him no have no mercy,” said a man who gave his name only as Lance.

Mohammed's son and nephew also shared the view that justice was too long in coming and, as a result, described McLean's conviction as “bittersweet”.

The 24-year-old musical engineer, who said that it is hard to live with the fact that he will never be able to call his mother, like others around him, told the Observer that he felt that McLean would have got away because of the length of time that the case took, but that his conviction has restored some amount of faith in the justice systems.

“Growing up I consider Jamaica a lawless country where men with power and rich people get away with crime, but this conviction is a win for the justice system,” he said.

Both he and his cousin commended the police and the prosecution team for the work that they did.

They also noted that the conviction would go a far way in helping their family to put the tragedy behind them, although it is one that they will never be able to fully get over.

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