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Man To Be Sentenced Next Week For Stabbing Banker He Said Flirted With Him

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Lamar Albury at a previous court appearance.

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A MAN will learn his punishment next week for the fatal stabbing of a banker he claimed had made a sexual pass at him.

Lamar Albury, 26, appeared before Senior Justice Vera Watkins for the penalty phase of his trial yesterday concerning the December 2015 manslaughter of Devince Smith after two delays in the sentencing hearings of May 31 and June 21 due to outstanding probation and psychiatric reports, which had been requested by Albury's defence lawyer for the court's consideration.

There were no further delays yesterday as attorney Michael Hanna and prosecutor Cordell Frazier both confirmed they had received the requested documents.

The contents of the documents were not read into the record.

Mr Hanna, in his mitigation plea, expressed confidence that "whatever time he's given, when he returns to society, he will have support from his family".

"He's unlikely to reoffend once release," the attorney said.

Mr Hanna acknowledged the sentencing range for manslaughter by provocation as being 18 to 35 years and said in the circumstances of his client's case, a punishment at the lower end was warranted.

"Lamar is repentant for his sin and very contrite. I plead for mercy and beg that you consider all of the circumstances of his case, consider his daughter and consider his family. He's a young man and he still has a life ahead of him," the lawyer stressed.

Ms Frazier acknowledged that there were some mitigating factors in Albury's favour in that he admitted to the killing, turned himself into police and expressed remorse for the loss of life.

However, she said that the court must also consider the seriousness and prevalence of the offence, the number of injuries inflicted on Smith and that an offensive instrument was used.

The prosecutor referred to the case authority of Larry Raymond Jones in which the court of appeal outlines 18-35 years as being the appropriate range for sentencing in case of manslaughter when considering the character of the individual and the circumstances of the case.

She also referred to the Court of Appeal case of Andy Francis in which Francis' initial conviction for murder was substituted for manslaughter but the 25-year sentence was upheld.

"The court must determine, in this case, whether a reasonable person, having been put in the same situation, would have done what he did," the prosecutor said.

Ms Frazier contended that Albury's reaction to the alleged sexual pass was disproportionate to the actions of the victim in the case based on the evidence.

She recommended the court impose a sentence between 25 and 30 years at the Department of Correctional Services.

The judge deferred her decision on his sentence until Wednesday, August 16 at 1pm.

Albury's remand continues.

He had denied the murder charge against him during his trial, which began on February 20 and concluded on March 8.

Smith's partially decomposed body was found shortly after 2.30pm on December 21, 2015, at his St Alban's Drive apartment.

Smith was a sports coach and was employed at Pictet Bank & Trust Ltd. He was also a former president of the New Providence Volleyball Association.

On the first day of trial, the jury heard that Albury allegedly had confessed to his relatives that he had fatally stabbed the banker, who had hired him to do a paint job at his apartment for an upcoming holiday gathering when the victim had made a sexual advance to him.

The second day of trial, Smith's housekeeper testified that in the three months she had known Albury, the accused had been to Smith's apartment on three occasions and on two other occasions, the accused and Smith were seen in the victim's Jeep drinking.

The prosecution's final witness was forensic pathologist Dr Caryn Sands, who testified that the wounds to the victim, which included a slit throat, were unlikely to have been caused by a painting knife as Albury had told police when interviewed in custody 14 days after the incident.

At the close of the prosecution's case, Albury was asked by Senior Justice Watkins to indicate whether he would remain silent at his trial or elect to give testimony under oath.

Albury elected to take the stand and spoke of how his accepting a "compliments to the season" Hennessey drink from Smith when he arrived at the apartment before he started the job, spiralled into a scuffle and stabbing after the banker allegedly made a sexual advance at him.

When cross-examined, it was suggested to Albury that in his voluntary record of interview in police custody, he made no claim that Smith had made a pass at him.

Albury said it was shameful to speak about the alleged action, so he withheld the information. The convict also denied that Smith was running away from him. However, he conceded that Smith had no weapon.

Albury was asked why the chairs in the living room were overturned if the scuffle had occurred upstairs and Smith had collapsed at the foot of the stairs.

The accused said when he left Smith there, he could not say that he was still alive and that Smith might have overturned the chairs.

Albury conceded that he turned himself in with a lawyer 14 days after the incident. However, he claimed that he told his relatives what happened the day after and not December 29/30 as the jury heard.

Albury also conceded that he burned the clothes he wore on that day.

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