By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JUDGE yesterday deferred a sentencing hearing by ten weeks for a man convicted of manslaughter by provocation concerning the 33 stab wounds he inflicted on 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 after a jury last Wednesday found he was not guilty of the 2015 murder of Devince Smith, but was criminally liable on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The hearing had been set for yesterday at 11am after his lawyer Michael Hanna waived an initial request for a probation report to be considered by the court.
Mr Hanna had requested a psychiatric report but the request was dismissed by Senior Justice Vera Watkins, who noted that such requests are only made in cases where the death penalty or life imprisonment arises upon a conviction for murder.
When the matter was called yesterday, however, the judge said she did not want Albury, who seemed to want the reports prepared, to feel cheated of having both reports prepared for the court’s consideration.
Following a 15-minute recess to consult with his client, Mr Hanna confirmed to the judge that they would wish to have both reports produced.
Cordell Frazier, who prosecuted Albury’s case with Anya Allen, did not object to the request.
The matter was further adjourned to May 31 to allow the Department of Rehabilitative Welfare Services and Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre sufficient time to produce the reports.
Albury 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 confessed to his relatives that he fatally stabbed the banker, who had hired him to do a paint job at his apartment for an upcoming holiday gathering, when the victim allegedly made a sexual advance at 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, 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 given 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 made a pass at him.
Albury said it was shameful to speak about the alleged action, so he withheld the information.
The accused 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 occurred upstairs and Smith collapsed at the base 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 hold 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.
Albury, who was remanded to the Department of Correctional Services until his next Supreme Court appearance, could face as much as 35 years in prison.