By PAVEL BAILEY
Tribune Court Reporter
A MAN convicted of the 2016 murder of pregnant schoolteacher Marisha Bowen had an appeal against his 55-year prison sentence rejected yesterday.
Alister Williams was convicted in 2018 for the murder of the Charles W Saunders Baptist school teacher. A jury of 12 convicted him for the murder and also for robbery of two cellphones and an iPod from Ms Bowen.
In December 2020, he was sentenced to 55 years in prison.
Yesterday, Williams made his case in the Court of Appeals before Sir Michael Barnett, Madam Justice Maureen Crane-Scott and Justice Roy Jones.
On the morning of September 9, 2016, the 35-year-old victim’s body was discovered naked on her blood soaked bed inside her apartment on Red Sea Road. The victim had suffered from multiple stab wounds and had a belt around her neck.
During Williams’ trial, pathologist Dr Caryn Sands testified that the cause of death was six stab wounds to the neck and oxygen deprivation.
Neighbours had reported hearing screaming from the apartment, which reportedly led to the discovery of her body.
During the case, Detective Corporal Javod Frazer told of how he saw blood on walls and the floor in the apartment before finding the victim’s lifeless body lying in a “large accumulation” of blood in her bed.
Evidence given by a forensic DNA analyst from Florida was presented showing a DNA sample found at the scene matched the profile obtained from Williams.
In reviewing his appeal application the Justices affirmed the DNA and video evidence linking Williams to the crime was sufficient to convict him.
The defence had submitted that there was doubt over Williams’ admission to Inspector Addison Ferguson that he was at the scene of the crime.
However, the justices said that “oral statements made by the intended appellant to Officer Ferguson were not the only evidence against” Williams.
The justices said: “The DNA evidence was compelling and he was found in possession of the cellphones belonging to the deceased and her son. The DNA evidence was compelling evidence that he was at the scene of the homicide and the oral statements to the police went no further than to confirm his presence at the scene.”
Referring to suggestions that that the stabbing was done by another individual, the judges noted: “Even if it was Nardo (a second suspect) who ‘jick’ the deceased, the evidence is compelling that the intended appellant was concerned together with another person in the commission of the offences.
“The presence of the intended appellant’s DNA in the deceased’s vagina and under the deceased’s fingernails could lead a jury to be satisfied that the intended appellant was guilty of the deceased murder.”
As such, the court found there was “no lurking doubt as to the safety of the verdict”. Williams’ submissions were dismissed and his sentence was upheld.
Ms Williams was described after her death as being “loving and caring” with one student calling her the “funniest and coolest teacher I could of ever had”.