A plea for mercy by attorney-at-law Shelly-Ann Hyman for convicted killer Abejay "Terron" Powell failed to move Justice Andrea Thomas in the St James Circuit Court on Thursday as she handed down the sentence.
Powell was convicted by a jury on February 23 for the murder of his cousin, Otis "Rooney" Patrick, whose body was found in a shallow grave in Trelawny in 2017.
In her plea for mercy, Hyman told the court that: "The antecedent report and the social enquiry report indicate that Mr Powell does not appear remorseful, and it is unfortunate... I submit that the reason for that is because he did not admit, but it is his right to maintain his position.
"The social enquiry report is one, I believe, persons generally call a mixed one. There are persons in the community who speak highly of Mr Powell as well as the members of his family. They described him as someone who generally gets along with persons in his community even though he is known to be a bit reserved.
"We are, of course, in your hands as it relates to sentencing, and we are asking that the court accept our submission that Mr Powell is not beyond redemption and can be rehabilitated. We will accept whatever sentence the court is going to impose, tempered with mercy," added Hyman.
"We are hoping that today will bring some kind of closure to what must be a very traumatic period for this family," Hyman added.
But that did not sway Justice Thomas, who sentenced Powell to life imprisonment and ordered that he would have to serve 29 years before being eligible for parole.
In handing down judgement, Justice Thomas highlighted several aggravating elements, including the fact that Powell was not honest and subjected them to a trial, that Patrick was not a stranger, plus the extent he went to so as to cover up the murder.
According to Justice Thomas, she considered the mitigating elements of his previous good character, the fact that he was hard-working and gainfully employed, and the time he spent in custody.
Justice Thomas had already heard a statement from Patrick's brother who said: "Abejay Powell took the life of my brother, my best friend, my mentor, my counsellor. He did not have to kill him. He never once owned up to the wrong he did, and that even made it hurt more.
"He killed my brother and lied to my family and the community at large, even though he killed him and buried him at the back of the house like he was a dog that you killed and burn. He led us to believe that my brother had left the house and would never return.
"I am unable to forgive Abejay Powell for taking my brother's life because he killed my brother and has never shown any remorse in his actions. Judge, I ask that Abejay Powell gets the maximum sentence that the law allows because what he did is so reprehensible and has affected many persons in many ways. Please make him serve the time that matches the damages that he did to me and my family."
Clad in a red, white and blue chequered shirt and grey pants, Powell sat silently in the dock during the sentencing hearing.
In additional details provided by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn on Thursday, it was noted that on February 8, 2023, Powell appeared before the Trelawny Circuit Court and pleaded not guilty to the murder of Patrick.
A trial was embarked upon during which one of the jurors was discharged. The trial lasted for 15 days, and upon its completion Powell was found guilty of murder.
The DPP noted that the evidence at trial was that on Saturday, March 25, 2017 Patrick left his house in St Mary for Lowe River District, Trelawny, where he was expected to oversee the refurbishing of a perimeter wall of a two-storey house in which Powell lived.
According to the DPP, Patrick was taken to the house by another cousin with a suitcase containing clothes and a puppy, and rested his items in a room that was in the downstairs section of the house.
Patrick was left in the company of the accused and another man at the house. Following that day he was never seen or heard from again.
Numerous calls were made to Patrick's phone by relatives but all efforts to get through to him proved unsuccessful.
On April 5, 2017 a missing person's report was filed at Port Maria Police Station. Based on this information the police interviewed several people, including the accused, in the Wait-a-Bit police area of Trelawny.
Powell reportedly told the police that he had left Patrick in the kitchen on Monday, March 27, 2017 and when he returned Patrick was not there.
Sometime after, Powell was seen with Patrick's cellular phone, which he attempted to sell to his then spouse and her cousin.
The DPP further said that in April 2017 Powell confessed to his former spouse that he used a gun and shot Patrick in his head in the house before he and another man drew Patrick outside of the house and put him down until in the morning.
When he got up early the next morning he went outside and observed that dogs had eaten a part of the deceased man's head. He then buried Patrick at the back of the yard by a concrete tank and covered the grave with stone and corn.
Based on what she had been told, his spouse said: "The boy come deh a gwaan like him want tek over and run him out a him house," in reference to Patrick.
After he was arrested Powell reportedly told the police that three men, seemingly friends of the deceased from Ocho Rios, had come to the house and one used a gun to shoot Patrick and threatened to shoot him too, unless he buried the body, which he did.
Powell then took the police to the house in Lowe River District and showed them where he had buried the body of the deceased. Following further investigations, Powell was charged.