Rushane Barnett pleads guilty to murdering family of five

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Rushane Barnett, the Trelawny man charged for the June 21 murder of his cousin and her four children in Cocoa Piece, Chapelton, Clarendon has pleaded guilty to those killings.

Barnett, for whom prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, pleaded guilty to the five counts when he appeared before Supreme Court Justice Leighton Pusey on Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors had in June, when Barnett made his first court appearance, requested that a psychiatric evaluation be done for him before he made his next court appearance to determine whether or not he was fit to plead for the murders.

Prosecutors say that Barnett, who is the cousin of the mother of four who was murdered, would often be at the Clarendon home although he did not live there.

Allegations are that “sometime during the night of the 20th of June going into the 21st of June between 12 midnight and 1am the accused used a knife to inflict several wounds to all five. After he had inflicted those wounds, he left the home and deposited the knife along with other items some distance away. Those items were retrieved and identified as items that belonged to the accused”.

According to Barnett, his cousin had disrespected him in the days before the murders. He claimed that a customer had come to the premises and he served the costumer but his cousin was upset and told him he was never to serve her customers and grabbed the cash from his hand and splashed water into his face. He said he was offended from that instant. A subsequent interaction with his cousin, he said, led to the stabbings.

The bodies of Kimesha Wright and her four children, all of New Road, Cocoa Piece, Chapelton district in Clarendon, were discovered inside their home with chop wounds and their throats slashed on the morning of Tuesday, June 21 by another relative. Barnett reportedly fled the area to Wilson Run in Trelawny, where he was apprehended. He was charged three days later based on a caution statement he gave to the police.

ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS , Observer senior staff reporter

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