Callous!
Judge chides killer for showing scant regard for life
We must be able to have differences with persons in our community and be able to resolve those issues without going down the road of physical harm.

SUPREME Court Judge Justice Simone Wolfe-Reece, in sentencing a St Mary man to life behind bars for the 2017 murder of a mason who was the complainant in another case against him, described the act as 'callous', while chiding him for showing "little or no remorse".

"Based on what was outlined to me in the facts, even at the point where it was [seen] that the [victim] after the injuries were inflicted had not passed, that you went and completed the act to ensure that there was no further life and that is an indication to me, and a basis on which I described that this offence is of a callous nature," Justice Wolfe-Reece said on Tuesday in sentencing 36-year-old Bastene Gillespie.

The father of four who pleaded guilty in July this year to illegal possession of firearm, illegal possession of ammunition and the murder of Theodore James will have to spend 27 years behind bars for that slaying before becoming eligible for parole. For the charges of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, Gillespie was sentenced to five years and one year, respectively, after receiving discounts for time spent in custody and the guilty plea. The sentences will run concurrently making it so that he will spend the longest of the three which is the 27 years before being eligible for parole.

Justice Wolfe-Reece said that in looking at the circumstances of the case which saw Gillespie who knew James — and was before the courts with him in relation to another matter — seeking him out and ending his life, could not be given a lesser sentence.

The judge said despite the fact that she placed no weight on the previous offence for which Gillespie and James were at odds and was treating him as someone with "a clean record", the offence for which he was being sentenced could only be described as "callous in nature".

"We must be able to have differences with persons in our community and be able to resolve those issues without going down the road of physical harm. We must be able to recognise that we are going to live amongst people and have differences with them," she scolded an implacable Gillespie who sat unmoving in docks, blinking intermittently.

"We must be able to recognise that sometimes we may believe that we are wronged, how we address those issues is important and therefore I am of the belief that the circumstances where it is that you and the deceased had a matter before the court, it says to me that you Mr Gillespie showed scant regard for the very process that you should be engaged in, in resolving the matter," the judge continued.

Handing down the sentences in the Home Circuit Division of the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston on Tuesday, the judge said given the community report which described Gillespie as 'hard-working and prior to the initial incident with the deceased was not a person who displayed aggression', it was hoped that he could be reformed.

"This incident it would appear was an anomaly based on what the community had to say about you. I hope that [in] the time imposed you will find your way, that this sentence will be a sentence that you will be rehabilitated," she stated.

According to police reports at the time, the body of James, who was last seen sometime after 10 am on Wednesday, May 17 in the Gayle community boarding a cab, was discovered the following morning by residents of another area who saw ammunition and a trail of blood on a section of the road in the community and called the cops.

Their search of the area led to the discovery of James's body which had multiple chop wounds and a gunshot wound along a riverbank.

Gillespie was subsequently arrested and charged.

Alicia Dunkley-Willis

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