KENESHA Nelson will never be able to forget that fateful day when Joseph Francis stood in the dock of the Mandeville Circuit Court and confessed why he killed her mother, Claudette Reid-Nelson, 49, as he was about to be sentenced.
Francis had, some three- and-a-half years before, used a large kitchen knife to almost sever the woman's head before fleeing the quiet farming village of Warwick in South Manchester.
The killer stared at the woman's two daughters, the only ones brave enough to follow the trial through to the end, and tried to explain why he committed the sordid act.
"He said he killed her because she was going abroad and was not coming back to him. At first he gave a statement that it was provocation, but when he made that confession on the final day the judge declared that the act was premeditated murder and sentenced him to 21 years," Nelson said.
Francis has since appealed the sentence, but was slapped with four more years after his appeal was rejected.
But despite the extended sentence, the woman's twin daughters realise that nothing Francis will go through during his time behind prison walls will bring back their beloved mother.
"Even if him get a million years it will not bring back my mother," Kenesha, the more talkative of the two, said.
For Denesha, not even the death penalty would be enough.
"There are times when I think about it and wish he was put to death, but you realise that death is no revenge and can't remedy the situation, even though I get very angry at times," she said.
Kenesha and Denesha were 17 years old at the time of the incident, and nine years later, both are mothers but neither has been able to come to grips with the way their mother was taken away from them.
Reid-Nelson was a businesswoman and a farmer who operated a small shop in the district. Years before her untimely demise she had hired Francis to assist on her farm.
Eventually, both became lovers although he was more than a decade her junior.
The union was not approved by Reid-Nelson's four daughters and they constantly warned their mother to get rid of Francis.
But the woman did not heed their warning and on one fateful morning in June 2004, when she did not awake early as usual to tend to her grandchildren's needs, her four-year-old grandson went in search of her in her room.
The child stumbled on a gruesome scene.
His grandmother was lying in a pool of her own blood. Her head was attached to her body
only by a tiny string of flesh and she suffered several stab wounds.
There was also a footprint in her back.
To date, that child has not recovered from the sight and has been relocated from the community to live with his father's relatives.
"He will never recover. Up until now that boy don't get over it and
all the while I worry for him," Denesha told the Jamaica Observer.
A black and white merino, a bloodied pair of jeans and a knife were found by residents at the back of the shop where the couple lived and were handed over to homicide investigators.
The night that she was killed, Reid-Nelson held a dance and residents reported that Francis had begun acting strangely and started to chase patrons away.
The dance reportedly made $80,000 in profit but that money was never found.
Residents also reported that days before the murder, Francis had been seen sharpening a large knife and swearing that he was going to commit murder, but no one took him seriously.
"You feel traumatised all the time. I see the image of her body all the time and it keeps haunting me. It is not nice. It not pretty," Denesha said.
Her sister was too traumatised to look at the gory sight and never saw her mother's remains until the day of her funeral.
Francis had been on the run for all of two years before he was eventually collared, and during that time Reid-Nelson's relatives and residents of Warwick, a community which had never before experienced any kind of violent murder, were fearful that he would return to the community and do more harm.
Everyone was on the alert.
"He never liked me one bit because I always told her to get him out. I know he would have killed me if he got the chance, so not even six o'clock would catch us on the street and if it did, we paid people to follow we home," Denesha said.
Francis was captured after an all-night trek through thick bushes in the district of Orange Vale in deep rural northern St Catherine.
After a six-hour operation during which the cops used no flashlights or machetes and moved stealthily in a bid not to alert Francis, the lawmen finally found him huddled inside a small two- walled hut about three feet high, which was covered with branches and leaves.
The unkempt Francis, dressed in shorts and a torn shirt and with dirt caked in his hair and on his body, welcomed his capture and during the long trek back to civilisation, confessed to the cops that he had murdered his lover. The cops also claimed that Francis confessed to another murder -- that of a man known only as 'Friday' from Riversdale, St Catherine in 1999.
Months before, Francis had managed to avoid capture after cops went after him in a district known as Freedom, close to Riversdale.
As news of his capture spread, an angry mob descended on the Alligator Pond police station in Manchester and demanded that he be handed over to them so that they could deliver their own brand of justice.
But even though the man who had caused them untold woe had now been captured and was behind bars, the trauma continued for Reid-Nelson's relatives as it took over two years for his trial to get underway.
Yanique Daley, Reid-Nelson's granddaughter, was only 12 at the time of the macabre murder but the memory still remains fresh in her mind.
"I am still jerked up about it. You can never get over things like that no matter how long ago it happened," she said.
For Denesha the memories flood her mind and tears flow freely every Mother's Day.
"It is especially hard when we hear other people sending out greetings to their mother and to know that we lost our mother at the hands of a villain. It is very painful," she said.
But her sister said that she is trying to stay strong in the face of an inestimable tragedy.
"No matter what, we will have to live with it and try to cope," she said.
The pain also still lingers in Warwick and, according to Reid-Nelson's neighbour Gladstone Allwood, the road to recovery will be long and arduous.
"This is something the community will never forget because things like that never happen around here," he said.