By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN seeking to contest his 40-year sentence for murdering a Cash for Gold employee had his substantive hearing into the matter adjourned yesterday after it was revealed his attorney was ill with hand, foot and mouth disease.
Valentino Bethel appeared before Court of Appeal President Dame Anita Allen and fellow Justices Jon Isaacs and Stella Crane-Scott for an extension of time application to appeal his conviction and sentence concerning the 2013 robbery and murder of Christopher Outten.
However, B’Jorn Ferguson, standing in for Bethel’s court-appointed attorney Christina Galanos, told the court Ms Galanos, as well as her daughter, had fallen ill with HFMD, and thus was unable to make it to yesterday’s hearing.
Mr Ferguson subsequently informed the court of his intention to request an adjournment.
However, Dame Anita expressed disappointment Bethel’s matter hadn’t progressed since June 29, the date of the last hearing, stating the parties involved are “no further than we were back then.” Nonetheless, she subsequently adjourned the matter to November 28.
Bethel stood trial in November 2014 with Natario Walkins and Sean Zhivargo Collie in connection with Outten’s death in January of 2013.
According to evidence given during the trial, Outten and his wife, who were employed at US Gold/Cash for Gold in the Jireh Plaza, left the store around 4pm on January 19, 2013.
They stopped at the automated teller machines of two banks before heading home.
On arrival at their residence, Outten was approached by a masked gunman and ordered to get down. His wife escaped and ran to a neighbour’s house for help. When she returned, she found her husband had been shot.
Walkins and Bethel were found guilty of murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery and murder.
In January 2015, Bethel was sentenced to 40 years for murder while receiving 25 years for armed robbery, and 15 years for conspiracy to commit murder and armed robbery.
Subsequent to his conviction and sentencing, Bethel claimed he had written the appellate court on numerous occasions requesting assistance from the court in getting new counsel as he was not satisfied with the representation of Geoffrey Farquharson.
Bethel also claimed he had not seen Mr Farquharson for some time, notwithstanding the severity of the conviction and 40-year sentence he is serving. He had also previously said he had not received copies of his trial transcripts despite requesting them.
At the previous hearing in June, The Tribune was informed that Ms Galanos was appointed to serve as Bethel’s attorney.