Jahan’s stepfather distances himself from abuse claims
One day after Lasonta Gill broke her silence on the death of her six-year-old son, saying she never abused the boy she loved with all her heart, her boyfriend Dwayne Marshall is also seeking to clear his name.
In a brief comment to Barbados TODAY this morning, Marshall, who has been under severe public attack following Jahan King’s death, also maintained that he never abused the former Lawrence T. Gay Memorial student.
Gill and Marshall both became the subjects of intense public scrutiny after Johan’s grandmother Margaret Gill charged that the child, who lived with the couple at their Jackson, St Michael home, and who died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on June 28, was a victim of domestic abuse.
While putting blame squarely on the shoulders of authorities at the state-run Child Care Board, Jahan’s grandmother said she had issued repeated warnings to the officials of the alleged mistreatment at home, but to no avail.
However, in an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY on Monday night, Jahan’s mother Lasonta said the claims made by her mother were simply not true. The 26-year-old woman also accused her mother Margaret of circulating misleading photographs on social media, while producing two medical certificates – one from a local doctor and the other from the QEH – as proof that a swollen face and a fractured hand suffered by Jahan, were not the results of any abuse but rather a centipede bite in April and a fall he suffered while getting off a bus in June.
Asked why her mother would do such a thing, Lasonta said Margaret had recently turned on her after she moved out of her home in March, following a dispute over missing money.
Her story has been backed up by Marshall, who, while saying he was innocent of any abuse claims, was not overly concerned about the public’s negative opinion of him.
“Right now I don’t care about John Public and what John Public has to say. I know the truth and God knows the truth and the autopsy will speak the truth,” he said, while noting that “people out there saying I beat the lil boy and all kinds [of] things, but I know I ain’t do nothing.”
He also indicated that he had been advised by his
attorney-at-law not to speak to anyone on the matter, adding “I am doing exactly what he say”.
Yesterday, an autopsy was conducted on Jahan’s body at the morgue of the QEH. Present were both Margaret and Lasonta Gill, as well as Ena Browne, foster mother of John King, Jahan’s biological father, is currently incarcerated in Canada.
With the results still pending, Browne revealed to Barbados TODAY this afternoon that the boy’s funeral would be held sometime in August to accommodate his father’s pending release from jail.
Browne, who visited the funeral home along with Lasonta yesterday, said Jahan’s mother had given her the “go ahead” in terms of the funeral arrangements and she was happy about that.
She also said attending the funeral was important to John, who “raised Jahan and loved him like a father and a mother”.
The foster mother, who had also developed a strong bond with the child, said yesterday’s autopsy process was not easy for any of the family members present.
It was the first time that Lasonta had met up with either her or Margaret since the child died and Browne remarked: “I saw Lasonta and I could see that she is hurting a lot”.