Deadly Russian roulette landed promising youth in prison for murder

Staff reporter

Sunday, April 07, 2019

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At age 19, Henzel Muir said youthful antics and his naive fascination with guns led to a deadly play of Russian roulette that landed him a life sentence with 20 years to parole.

“December 1993, I was a security guard and at the time I decided that I wanted some extra money for the Christmas that year, so I went on overtime at work.

“I was at Lane Plaza in Liguanea working and there was a bank on the plaza that my company also has a contract for. When that bank closed at 5:00 pm, they had a security guard who would carry his firearm over to the bank for us to keep till our supervisor come about 9:00 pm to collect the gun. Any of us could keep the gun and that night I got the gun to keep,” Muir told the Jamaica Observer in an interview.

Later that evening when his shift was over, Muir said that instead of handing over the gun to another co-worker who was with him, he started to play with the weapon.

“I was there playing Russian roulette with the firearm while my friend, another security guard, was there talking with me. He was a Christian guy and we were discussing what we would say to the supervisor if him come and catch me playing with the gun.”

The now ex-inmate said he spun the barrel of the .38 revolver which housed a single bullet.

“I put the gun to my head, but this time, before mi pull the trigger, a mind said to test it first. When mi test the gun, it fire and end up catch my friend who was there.”

Muir said he panicked. “They took him to the hospital and him dead. But before the police come, another security guard who was older than me, him come on the scene and I tell him what happened. The man look pon me and tell me say mi cyah tell the police that because them a guh hang me.

“Now that was when mi panic. So I decided to tell a lie. I started to make up story and when di police come, mi tell them say the deceased put the firearm on cock, asked me to release it, but before I could release it, it go off.

“But it never add up, so the judge sentence me, saying him know say some accident must happen but based on what me come say, he sentenced me to life. I had a girlfriend at the time and was to be married to her but...a so it guh. Mi have fi tell her fi go and live her life. It never make sense,” Muir said.

“But I realise now that if I told the police the truth as I just told you, I would not serve 21 years. I would have been tried on manslaughter. I was trying to protect myself and end up sink myself even more in the process. I can't blame anybody for that, not even the system. I have to blame myself,” Muir conceded.

Twenty-one years later, Muir said he still replays those final moments in his head, wishing he could reverse the hands of time.

“It still affect me to this day, because he died leaving children. When it happened, everything started to play back like when you watch movie and you see something happening and wish you could a stop it.

“Every day I was in prison mi pray to God say, please make Heartwell (surname of the deceased) be my angel. He was my co-worker and friend.”

Since the unfortunate incident, Muir said he embedded in himself a desire to contribute to the development of the deceased's children.

“Those children would be adults already but if even the grandchildren, I owe them that obligation. I wrote a letter to them when I was inside, showing them my deepest regret.

“I got in touch with the brother who was a correctional officer. I went to him and I explained the situation to him and him say that is one thing him a defend and that is revenge,” said Muir

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