‘Homicide by Manslaughter’ jurors rule in Coroner’s court


Tribune Staff Reporter


CORONER’S Court jurors ruled that police committed homicide by manslaughter when they killed a 15-year-old boy on Prince Charles Drive after the teen allegedly tried to rob a QVS store in the Seagrapes Plaza in 2017.

Inquests do not determine criminal liability, but the adverse finding will prompt Director of Public Prosecutions Cordell Frazier to consider whether to charge the officers, corporals Dennis Sturrup and Denzil Deveaux, with a crime.

Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander has yet to reveal or act on her recommendations concerning several other manslaughter findings, even though she sent them to him three months ago.

After Friday’s finding, Gino Evante Finley, Jr’s, family said: “Justice was served,” and they breathed an audible sigh of relief. 

Neither officer was present throughout the entirety of proceedings into the killing, which happened on May 23, 2017.

David Cash, who represented the deceased’s estate, said the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2017 that they intend to pursue with the favourable finding.

Gino Finley, Sr, the deceased’s father, cried after the ruling.

“We can’t get him back, but it is some good results,” he said. “We appreciate Mr Cash and what he’s done. Words can’t explain right now. We can’t bring him back, but we can go with this one here. Now, we want to see justice for them. We need to see them get something. We gotta get it.”

Lynette “Tasha” Brown, the deceased’s mother, who testified during the inquest, said the family was elated.

“I just want to thank my lawyer, the judge and the members of the jury for taking into consideration the evidence despite the matter,” Mrs Brown said.

This is the third inquest this year with a finding of homicide by manslaughter.

This ends the recent trend where results have favoured officers. The other six inquests returned findings of justifiable homicide.

Before the finding was read, Dr Caryn Sands, a forensic pathologist, confirmed that the deceased died of a gunshot wound to the head and abdomen. She said the bullet entered the deceased’s body from his back and exited from the front.

In his closing submissions, Mr Cash said Dr Sands’ testimony proved the defendant was shot in his back. He highlighted how this was inconsistent with the officers’ stories. It contradicted Cpl Sturrup’s report that he shot the deceased in the chest as the teen allegedly reached for his weapon.

Mr Cash further pointed out that the deceased was unarmed at the time of his death as the weapon pulled from the scene was several yards away from his body. He added that the officers’ weapons were never tested.

K Melvin Munroe, the officers’ attorney, told the jury that the officers were blindsided and under attack.

He argued that the jury should not ignore the fact that officers were responding to an armed robbery at QVS pharmacy and suggested that the deceased had to have been moving when shots were fired at him.

A male pharmacist and female patron during the reported robbery previously testified that the deceased was wearing an RM Bailey Senior High shirt as he held up people at gunpoint.

Acting Coroner Kara Turnquest Deveaux presided. Angelo Whitfield marshalled the evidence.

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