KINGSTON, Jamaica - Rushane Barnett, the man charged with the brutal murder of his female cousin and her four children in Cocoa Piece, Clarendon in June, is expected to learn his fate for the crime in just under a month.
At a sentencing hearing Thursday, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn withdrew the death penalty as an option – Barnett’s guilty plea the DPP said, automatically ruled it out as an option – and recommended that the 23-year-old serve 60 years and 9 months on each count of murder before he becomes eligible for parole.
DPP Llewellyn said that penalty would be justified given the ages of the victims and the manner in which they were killed.
The victims, his cousin 31-year-old Kemesha Wright and her children, 15-year-old Kimanda Smith, 12-year-old Sharalee Smith, five-year-old Rafaella Smith, and 23-month-old Keshawn Henry Jr, were found dead inside their homes. All five were stabbed multiple times. Their throats were also slashed.
Wright received 48 incised wounds to her neck, chest, abdomen and limb; Kishawn Henry Jr – 11 incised wounds inclusive of an incised wound to the neck; Kimanda Smith – nine incised wounds and four stab wounds; Sharalee Smith – 22 incised wounds and two scratches; and Rafaella Smith – five incised wounds and a gaping wound to the upper neck.
Barnett is set to be officially sentenced on October 20.
Llewellyn, at the sentencing hearing, said the courts sought to move quickly in closing the case against Barnett as it was "a very heinous matter that energised public repulsion."
Barnett, for whom prosecutors originally sought the death penalty, pleaded guilty to five counts of murder when he appeared before Supreme Court Justice Leighton Pusey in July.
In the meantime, defence attorney Tamika Harris recommended that Barnett receive a sentence of 45 years before being eligible for parole, arguing that he saved the state a lot of resources with his early admission of guilt.