JAMAICA – Killer confesses
Eighteen-year-old admits to murder of ten-year-old
KINGSTON –– The prosecution yesterday told the May Pen Resident Magistrate’s Court that the young woman accused of killing her ten-year-old neighbour Juvea Cooper in Portland Cottage, Clarendon, had confessed to her mother that she committed the crime because she was “fed up” with him.
Eighteen-year-old Lanie Lewis also reportedly took her mother, 40-year-old Glenda Wright, to the spot where she left the boy’s body.
Wright, who is accused of trying to conceal the boy’s murder, was arrested and charged with misprision of felony, while Lewis was charged with murder.
Cooper’s rotting body was found behind a house on January 23 with its throat slashed and left arm severed.
The special needs child was reportedly killed after he smashed a window at the accused’s home on January 13.
Lewis reportedly told the police that Cooper had also broken another window at her house on a previous date.
The details of the horrific murder were revealed yesterday when the two accused appeared before Magistrate Stephanie Orr.
The two women, who were jeered by residents as they made their way in and out of the courtroom, showed no signs of remorse and held their heads high throughout the proceeding.
Cooper’s mother, meanwhile, stood shaking her head and watched with pain etched on her face.
The prosecutor, in outlining the allegations, said that Cooper went missing on January 14, between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., and that his body was found by the police 150 metres from his home, following two days of searching by residents and the police.
According to the prosecutor, the police, based on intelligence, went to the accused women’s home where Cooper’s shoe and a knife were found in their latrine.
The police, in processing the scene, “found what appeared to be blood spatters”, the prosecutor also said.
The court heard that Wright, in her statement to the police, said she saw the knife and the boy’s shoes at her home and, that leading to his death, he had thrown a stone and had smashed a window.
However, she said that on the following day she saw when he came through the back door of her house.
The prosecutor also said that Wright, in her statement, further indicated that her daughter told her: “Mi get fed up of him and mi kill him,” and took her and showed her Cooper’s body in nearby bushes.
In addition, the prosecutor said that Lewis had confessed to the boy’s murder.
Lewis, in her statement to the police, reportedly said that she grabbed the boy and cut his throat, and after she checked and realized that he was not breathing took him into nearby bushes.
The court also heard that Lewis reportedly confessed that she then placed Cooper’s shoe and the murder weapon in a bag and hid them in her toilet.
The prosecutor, after outlining the allegations, told Magistrate Orr that the post-mortem report was not ready and that two statements were also outstanding.
The magistrate then asked the accused if they had retained an attorney and they indicated that they did not have legal representation or anyone to assist them in getting a lawyer. The magistrate instructed the prosecutor to get legal aid representation for them.
The accused women were then remanded until February 25.
In the meantime, the magistrate told the grieving mother that the court would assist her in getting counselling from the Victims Support Unit to cope with her loss.
“It is an unfortunate thing that has happened to you, and it is difficult to bury a child,” Orr said.
Outside the court, a large group of residents from Portland Cottage, who showed up to support the grieving family, expressed anger and issued threats at the accused while police escorted them from the courtroom.
“Murderer,” member of the group shouted.
“A caa unnuh nuh know how it grieve mi, a coulda my grand pickney, a coulda my grandson,” one old lady said.
Earlier, before the case was mentioned, the slain boy’s grandmother Pearline Morgan broke down in tears outside the courtroom.
“Mi neva know mi coulda live inna a community wid people like that,” she said. “A straight prison dem fi go.”
Morgan said the accused women were not known to her as troublemakers in the community as they kept to themselves, and so she and community members were shocked at their alleged actions.
She also told the Jamaica Observer that her grandson would often visit the accused at their home.
When asked to describe Cooper, she said: “He was so jovial and loving; if him come on right now and see you and don’t know you he would just hug you.”
The sentiment was echoed by others.