Judge considers defendant’s mental state

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A penitent Adrian McKenzie at the Georgetown High Court on Tuesday (Photo by Samuel Maughn)

–before passing 12-year sentence

A REMORSEFUL Adrian McKenzie was on Tuesday sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for the 2010 murder of his 62-year-old mother when he appeared in the Georgetown High Court before Justice James Bovell-Drakes.

In an earlier appearance before the same judge, he had pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter through his attorney, Mr Maxwell McKay.

Justice Bovell-Drakes said that it was a very difficult task for him, considering McKenzie’s mental state, but after speaking with the prisoner’s sister, Samantha, in his presence in chambers, he had got a better understating of certain things.

He said he’d also sought the advice of McKenzie’s doctor, and after listening to both the probation officer and the Prison Welfare Officer, he was able to arrive at a reasonable timeframe as it relates to the sentence in which the prisoner can be seen by Dr. Bhiro Harry.

He, however, said that the thing that touched him the most was the post-mortem report which indicated that McKenzie had inflicted certain injuries on his mother which caused her death.

But because of the mental issues he has, he needs to continue seeing Dr. Harry at least twice a month to assess how he (McKenzie) is responding to treatment.

Addressing the prisoner directly, Justice Bovell-Drakes urged McKenzie to be on his best behaviour, and to utilise whatever skills he has to become a better person in an effort to be reintegrated into society.

“I wish you the best; only you can be the best and stay away from problems,” he told McKenzie.

He also encouraged him to stay on the straight and narrow path, and to make use of his normal life.

McKenzie, on the other hand, told the court: “I am sorry for what I did, and I would like to go to another prison.”

Before the sentencing, Dr. Harry told the court that after gathering information on the defendant and perusing his old medical records, he had several psychological sessions with him before preparing his report.

And, based on his evaluation, he came to the conclusion that while the prisoner exhibits a wide range of symptoms associated with psychotic disorders and needs medical treatment, he understands when spoken to and can relate to simple questions.

He said he also noted that the prisoner becomes very emotional at the mere mention of his mother, and is under the impression that she is still alive, although he hasn’t seen her in years.

According to Probation Officer Ms Pamela Atwell, in spite of his troubled upbringing,
the prisoner has a sound education but had to leave school due to financial constraints.
But, she said, his mother had made sure she enrolled him in a vocational school, which later helped him land a job as a certified electrician.

She said, too, that even since the family lived in Kaneville, McKenzie had always displayed the behaviour of a person of unsound mind, in that he would often refuse to shower or even eat.

His sister, Samantha, on realising that something was wrong, once took him to the Georgetown Hospital where he was admitted to the Observation Ward.

But, somehow, his angst always seemed to be directed at his mom, as Atwell told the court. Back in 2007, he had hit her in the head so hard she had had to be hospitalised for a whole month. Then later, while living in the Rupununi, he was feared by both villagers and relatives alike, and was considered to be a ‘mad man.’ He was also in the habit of smoking marijuana.

During his incarceration while awaiting trial, he reportedly worked in the prison’s Tuck Shop but usually kept to himself. And to this day, he insists that he cannot remember ever hurting his mother, Ms. Ethel Andries, much less killing her.

According to reports, it took a posse of able-bodied men from his village to arrest McKenzie and hand him over to the police after he’d beaten his mother to death with a hammer.
The bloody hammer was reportedly recovered at the crime scene.