'Candidate for death penalty'
Chief justice sentences old man who killed 18-y-o to 25 years; calls him a 'public health risk'Friday, July 16, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Chief Justice Bryan Sykes yesterday described Winston Jarrett, whom he sentenced to 25 years for murdering his 18-year-old sister-in-law in a fit of jealousy, as a “public health risk” who has shown “the tendency to violate another person's rights to life”.
The 62-year-old man, Justice Sykes said, was “a candidate for the death penalty” though the prosecution had mercifully opted not to go that route.
Jarrett will spend 53 years in prison. He will first serve 28 years for another murder committed in 2012, before doing time for the teenager's murder.
Jarrett reported Julanna White missing a day after he knifed her to death. A post-mortem report showed that she received some 20 stab wounds to the head, neck and upper torso. Jarrett, who trailed the teen from St Ann to Duncans in Trelawny, where he confronted her and accused her of being promiscuous, told the police an evil spirit may have led him to kill her.
A plea for leniency, by his attorney Shelly-Ann Hyman, failed to move Sykes yesterday. Jarrett has led a life of crime for the past 43 years and he was recently convicted on another murder charge. Hyman told the court that, at a young age, her client had been abandoned by his mother who migrated and he had had no contact with her until a few years ago. In addition, his father was killed while he was a child. Hyman said Jarrett was raised by a family who allegedly abused him in his early years.
“I believe, My Lord, that these are some of the issues that would have resulted in him behaving in a particular way,” stated Hyman before pleading with the judge to be lenient in his judgement.
“The offence is a serious one and by any stretch of the imagination we know that he must serve time in prison. My Lord, I am praying with you to be as lenient as you can be in these circumstances,” requested Hyman.
“It is unfortunate, My Lord, that when persons are before the court we often see them in such a negative and terrible light that we cannot appreciate that we are more than our mistakes. We are a combination of every single thing that has happened to us,” Hyman added.
However, Sykes would have none of it, pointing out that, based on Jarrett's record to date, he is a “high risk to persons in the society”.
Sykes noted that in 1978 Jarrett's career commenced with shop breaking in Brown's Town, St Ann, for which he was sentenced to 35 days at hard labour. In 1979, he was charged with housebreaking in Brown's Town and sentenced to nine months in prison. He was again charged with shop breaking in Brown's Town and sentenced to seven months in prison in 1980.
In 1982, Jarrett apparently transferred his operations to Kingston where he upgraded his skills from offences against property to offences against people and spent two years in prison for indecent assault. In 1985, he was given 12 years for two counts of carnal abuse in the Home Circuit Court. Then, in 1995, he was given two years in prison, suspended for three years, after entering a plea to three counts of forgery, one count of uttering forged documents and obtaining money by false pretences and conspiracy.
In 1997, he relocated his operations to St Ann where he resumed his housebreaking practice combined with unlawful wounding. He received another suspended sentence in 2002 for indecent assault. Then, in 2012, he was sentenced in Kingston for a murder he had committed when he escaped to St Ann and met his wife. He later developed an affair with White, his wife's teenage sister.
The chief justice argued that Jarrett is not an appropriate candidate to be released any time soon.
“I suppose the Crown was merciful when it did not seek to get the death penalty because the law allows that,” he said.