Private Kishawn Henry Sr, the father of 23-month-old Kishawn Henry who was murdered alongside his mother Kimesha Wright and her three other children in June, will forever be haunted by the sound of his son crying after him as he left for work after spending his second Father's Day with the baby.
Henry, in a victim impact statement read into the records of the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston during the start of a sentencing exercise on Thursday for confessed murderer Rushane Barnett, said he had only left Wright and her four children at the house in Cocoa Piece, Clarendon to return to work at Up Park Camp, the Jamaica Defence Force headquarters in St Andrew, in the wee hours of Monday, June 20.
Henry, who said his son cried as he was leaving to the point where Wright had commented on it, said he placed a video call back to the house when he arrived at work. According to the army man, "each time I remember my son crying, it tore me up inside".
Henry, in the statement, told the court that in the hours and days after the murders he was still in "denial" and awaited a call from Wright or one of the children to disprove the news that they had all been slain.
Wright, who revealed that he was told about the incident in an early morning phone call while he was at Up Park Camp, said although several individuals spoke to him after he got that call "mi nuh hear nutten weh dem seh". He said when he visited the district and stood across the road from the house that he had left hours before, although there were people talking all around he "didn't hear a thing".
The soldier said that while he was at the scene he heard people saying Barnett was the killer. However, he did not believe.
"Nothing made sense that day," he said, adding that even when he heard that Barnett had handed himself in to the police he was still waiting for Kimesha or the children to call.
Henry said he waited for days and when no call came, "I cried and cried. I cried until I was weak and broken. A sadness I had never known came down on me. I wondered how I would live without Kimesha and the children. I provided for my family. I need my family; Kimesha and I had so many plans," Henry said.
He said he also wondered why Jet [Barnett's alias] would have killed the family.
"We were all living good. For two weeks I could not eat nor sleep," he said in his statement.
Henry, who said he received intense counselling from the JDF, still described "each day [as] a nightmare".
The funeral on Sunday, July 31 inside Stuart Hall auditorium at Clarendon College, he said, was "the worst day of my life".
"I was crying and angry… it was so hard to look at them in the casket," Henry, who said he first ran from the auditorium before returning to look, told the court.
He said since the slaying of his family he has been at a total loss.
"Since Kimesha and the children died, I received my June and July salary. I asked myself what I would do with my salary… I need my family. I am hurting and a broken man. I hope they would come back to me. I think of what my baby went through [and it] is heart-rending," Henry said, adding that he hoped the court would hand Barnett the punishment he deserved.
Barnett, who sat in the dock clad in a black T-shirt and stonewashed frayed jeans, was subdued for the duration of the hearing. He divided his time between plucking at his pants leg and glancing furtively at reporters to the right of the dock, his reddish-brown head bowed for long intervals, his youthful brow slightly furrowed.
The bodies of Wright and her four children were discovered inside their house 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.