Accused man changes plea


Accused man changes plea

By Jamaica Observer writer

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

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BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth — A man accused of killing a 16-year-old female student with whom he had a sexual relationship and who had pleaded guilty on the opening day of the St Elizabeth Circuit on November 25, has changed his plea.

Horatio Bruce, alias “Prento”, of Malvern, St Elizabeth had pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and having sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 16 years old.

Bruce changed his plea when he appeared in court on Friday, December 6, the day he was scheduled to be sentenced.

In a social enquiry report presented in court, Bruce told the probation officer that he was not aware of what he was being charged for and had no knowledge of killing or being in a relationship with the teenager.

He further stated in the report that because of frustration and encouragement from his attorneys he pleaded guilty to the charges.

However, his claims were rebutted by his attorneys Velma Hylton, QC and Yushaine Morgan.

Resulting from his withdrawal of his plea, the attorneys withdrew from representing Bruce.

Presiding High Court Judge Justice Chester Stamp then set the matter for mention on March 9, 2020.

Justice Stamp also instructed that efforts be made to secure legal aide assistance for Bruce.

He was charged in September 2016 with the murder of Sherika Roberts of Newcombe Valley, St Elizabeth.

According to the police report, Roberts was at her home sometime after 3:00 am on September 12 when she was called outside by Bruce, with whom she was involved in a sexual relationship.

It was reported that during an argument the accused used a knife to stab Roberts in her neck, chin, and left foot.

Family and residents who heard her cries for help summoned the police and she was taken to Black River Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries about seven hours later.

She reportedly told her mother and other family members that she was stabbed by Bruce after she told him that the relationship was over.

Bruce, who said he was not aware of the death of Roberts, was taken into custody one day later at his workplace.

Following questioning he was charged with murder.

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