By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEATH, life imprisonment or a fixed jail term for a man convicted of the paid execution of a banker will be decided by Justice Roy Jones next week. The judge received reports from a probation officer and a psychiatrist yesterday morning while also hearing submissions from defence and Crown counsel concerning sentencing of 24-year-old Janaldo Farrington for the murder of Stephen Sherman in February 2012.
Janice McKenzie, a probation officer from the Department of Rehabilitation, told the court that the convict had “vehemently” denied committing the offences, claiming he was in fear for his life when he was tortured by police and signed a document that he had not read beforehand.
The officer noted that Farrington, who had grown up with parental support, had not expressed remorse for the crimes he committed, but that he had no previous convictions and had broken no prison rules since his incarceration.
The psychiatrist, Dr Sridas Boudha, noted that Farrington was of sound mind, but did suffer from marijuana misuse disorder.
Prosecutor Sandradee Gardiner informed the judge that the convict had been charged with murder under section 291(a) of the Penal Code which allows for two punishments, death or life imprisonment.
The prosecutor further explained that the murder committed by Farrington fell within this category because it had been done in the process of another felony (armed robbery) and the murder was a contract killing (for pay).
She noted the evidence of Dr Caryn Sands, who testified that the victim would not have survived long enough to receive medical attention having been shot in the back of his head at point-black range.
She referred to the reports of the psychiatrist and probation officer and invited the court, in the circumstances, to exercise its discretion in sentencing the 24 year old to death or life imprisonment.
Murrio Ducille, who represents Farrington, noted that much had been made of his client’s lack of remorse, but said that even the psychiatrist and probation officer admitted that this attitude was consistent with someone who professed innocence.
He further asked the court to take note of his client’s lack of antecedents prior to conviction and that he had broken no rules since being admitted to prison.
Mr Ducille concluded that the Supreme Court was not bound by legislation passed by parliament, as sentencing, ultimately, was at the discretion of the judge. Justice Jones said he would give his ruling on the convict’s fate on May 8.
Farrington was initially scheduled to be sentenced last November to learn his punishment for the murder of Sherman, having unanimously been found guilty by a jury a little more than a month earlier.
However, the matter was adjourned to January 23, to allow his lawyer, Murrio Ducille, more time to review the probation report.
In February, Mr Ducille and the prosecutor were in the Court of Appeal, but the judge was presiding over a trial.
Farrington’s sentencing date was then set for March 19. However, the psychiatrist was out of the country at the time, hence the adjournment to yesterday.
Mr Sherman, an assistant manager at the Royal Bank of Canada in Palmdale, was shot in the head when he pulled up to his Yamacraw Shores home on the evening of February 17, 2012. While on his knees, he was robbed of his cell phone before being shot. His niece, who was in the car with him, was also robbed.
His wife, Renee Sherman, Cordero Bethel and Farrington were charged with conspiring to commit murder.
Farrington and Bethel were together charged with his murder and the two armed robberies while the widow was charged with aiding and abetting the murder of her husband. All three denied the charges.
During the trial, the widow and Bethel were acquitted on the direction of the judge, leaving Farrington to answer to the charges against him because of a confession that he gave to the police on February 24, 2012.