Kurt and Branville McCartney.
By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN who was unanimously convicted of the murder of prominent businessman Kurt McCartney by a Supreme Court jury yesterday may face the death penalty.
Shortly after the verdict was handed down, the Crown notified the court of its intent to seek the death penalty for Thorne Edwards, one of four people charged with the murder.
Edwards, along with Okell Farrington, Sumya Ingraham and Lyndera Curry were on trial for nearly two weeks concerning McCartney’s murder and armed robbery that occurred on October 24, 2013 in Gambier.
A jury of 11 women and 1 man took three hours to return verdicts for each of the accused persons after they had been excused by Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs to deliberate on the evidence.
Edwards was unanimously convicted of murder and was found guilty of armed robbery on a majority verdict of 9-3.
Curry was acquitted of murder but found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter by 11-1. The same count was returned on her conviction for armed robbery.
Both Farrington and Ingraham were acquitted of murder, manslaughter and armed robbery. Businessman and community activist Terry Delancy, who had been accused of being an accessory to the murder after the fact, was acquitted of the charge last week following the close of the prosecution’s case due to legal reasons.
Though the remaining four accused were stoic as the verdict was announced, Curry’s relatives became emotional and left court.
After the judge reiterated the jury’s verdict to the quartet, trial prosecutor Roger Thompson informed the judge of the Crown’s intent to seek the death penalty for Edwards’ involvement in the matter at a sentencing hearing scheduled for February 29, 2016.
The 2011 amendment to the Penal Code notes that only certain types of aggravated murders are currently punishable by death: murder of a law enforcement officer; murder of a judicial officer; murder of a witness or juror; murder of more than one person; murder committed by a defendant who has a prior murder conviction; and murder in exchange for value.
The only two possible sentences are either death or life without parole. Any other type of murder carries a term of imprisonment of 30 to 60 years.
The amendment further provides that any murder committed in the course of/or in furtherance of a robbery, rape, kidnapping, terrorist act, or any other felony is punishable by death, with no explicit requirement of an intent to cause death.
A felony is defined as any offence which is punishable by at least three years’ imprisonment.
It was alleged that Edwards shot McCartney in the face after he became involved in an argument between Curry and the victim. The prosecution maintained that McCartney was crushed when Farrington, Ingraham and Curry allegedly rolled over his body as they fled the scene in the victim’s Hummer. It was alleged that Edwards ran away after the shooting.
At trial, the jury heard from anonymous witness “AB” who said the pharmacist was arguing with one of two women he was walking with, Curry and Ingraham, and that one of the women signalled to a man who approached and shoved McCartney before shooting the victim.
However, a 12-year-old witness told the jury that there was a single assailant who startled McCartney as he was trying to enter his vehicle, shot him in the head and then sped off in the victim’s car after rolling over him.
Ingraham, Curry, Edwards and Farrington were respectively represented by Romona Farquharson-Seymour, Sonia Timothy, Terrel Butler and Philip Hilton. Delancy was represented by Ian Cargill.