MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) reserve Bernard Carl Ballentine was yesterday convicted for the murder of his 23-year-old ex-lover Shanell Norris, a social work student at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) here in Mandeville.
Ballentine, who was assigned to Foster Barracks in Manchester during his service in the National Reserve, was convicted when he appeared in the Manchester Circuit Court. He is scheduled to be sentenced next Friday. His attorney Velma Hylton ordered that a social enquiry report be done before the sentencing.
The soldier, who had been on trial since October 10, appeared calm in court yesterday. However, he held his head down as the deliberations of the jurors persisted and the guilty verdict handed down.
As he was handcuffed and taken from the court room a man, who was a part of a group of three persons showing their support in the court room, could be overheard telling him that "we still love you".
The court was told that the soldier was seen running towards the camp on August 11, 2010, saying that he was held up while sitting in his Toyota Starlett motor car with Norris on Hart Road, which is in close proximity. He reportedly had a knife in his hand and rag which covered a wound on his finger.
Court documents revealed that Norris' throat was slashed and she was found in a reclining position in the passenger seat of the motor car.
The police reportedly arrived at the scene of the crime shortly after the early-evening incident and Ballentine was taken into custody.
Justice Bertram Morrison, in his summary of the case before the verdict was handed down, read reports from Ballentine's testimony where he maintained that he was not responsible for Norris' death.
He said that they were attacked by two men, one whom stabbed Norris because she was reportedly 'talking too much'.
The court heard that at the time of the incident Norris, who was living with Ballentine at his apartment, asked for "space" as she needed time to study.
Ballentine is also known in Mandeville as a driving instructor.