American woman freed in MoBay kidnapping case
MONTEGO BAY, St James - Twenty-eight-year-old American Jenice Regisford walked from the St James Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon a free woman after a mixed jury of seven returned a unanimous not guilty verdict against her in a case of kidnapping.
The jury consisting of four men and three women deliberated for nearly two hours before returning the verdict that surprised many who were following the trial.
Just over 30 minutes after they started their deliberations, the jury came back to ask a question regarding the difference between kidnapping and child stealing. But Justice Jennifer Straw who presided told them they were only asked to deliberate on the charge of kidnapping.
Regisford and three men were arrested and charged in May last year after they were involved in a plot to steal a three-year-old child from a Montego Bay preparatory school.
The child was taken from the school on May 3 and was found unharmed a day later at a house in Clarendon.
The other three defendants had earlier this year admitted their part in the incident and pleaded guilty to child stealing, a lesser charge and were sentenced.
However, Regisford had denied knowingly taking part in the kidnapping.
Jonathon Mitchell, the 24-year-old mastermind behind the plot was in September sentenced to six year at hard labour, just below the seven year maximum.
Mitchell, Trevon Tomlinson who was the driver and a third man who was a juvenile when the act was carried out were all charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to obtain money by fraud.
Tomlinson was sentenced to two years at hard labour while the other man who is now 18 years old was given a three years probation order.