Man gets 22 years for Linden shallow grave murder

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Lakeraj Fredericks: Jailed for 22 years.

LAKERAJ Fredericks was on Monday sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment for the June 11, 2011 killing of Vernon Romaldo after he pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter before Justice Sandil Kissoon in the Demerara High Court.

In handing down his sentence, the judge who started at a base of 30 years, deducted six years for the guilty plea and acceptance of the crime, another six years for time served, and two years for the plea of mitigation (remorse) and apology to family members of the deceased.

Of the 16 years’ sentence, Justice Kissoon added six years for aggravating factors in which grievous bodily harm was intended and the fact that the incident took place a mere seven days after another act committed by Fredericks.

Justice Kissoon told the court that he was deeply troubled that Fredericks was engaged in another act which had happened a week before he was involved in the 2011 killing of Vernon Romaldo of Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara.

The judge stated that it was a related incident of which Fredericks was separately charged in relation to marijuana cultivation, and even though the incident was not isolated, it was premeditated and calculated on the part of Fredericks who was charged on that indictment.
Meanwhile, when asked if he had anything to say, Fredericks, who was sentenced to 65 years by Justice Navindra Singh also in the Demerara High Court for the 2011 Linden ‘Old England’ shallow grave murder of his brother-in-law in 2017, begged the court for mercy on Monday morning.

According to the facts of that matter, Fredericks killed Clifton Bonus, his brother-in-law on Saturday, June 4, 2011. Bonus’s body was found buried in a shallow grave at ‘Old England’ Back Dam, Linden, days after he was reported missing. Bonus, called “Mutts”, was shot twice in the head with a .32 pistol before he was buried almost three feet deep beneath groves of cannabis.

It was reported that Fredericks and the victim had an argument over some missing marijuana seeds, moments before he (Bonus) was shot and killed. Fredericks was subsequently arrested and charged with the crime. Fredericks, 38, a father of two, told the court that he was sorry for what happened. He stated that he had no choice that night and he bought the rum that he consumed with the deceased and admitted that he was not in the right frame of mind.

He added that in jail he was baptised and stopped smoking marijuana (cannabis sativa) and had turned his life around for the better. State Prosecutor Lisa Cave, in her opening statement to the court, said that Fredericks had pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter for the June 11, 2011 murder of Vernon Romaldo.

She added that on the night of June 10, 2011, the accused and the deceased were at the house of the sister of the latter and sometime during that evening there was a loud argument between the men. However, the sister of the deceased intervened and retired to bed but was awakened by groaning sounds. When she got up to investigate, she saw her sibling lying in a chair with what appeared to be a stab wound to the left chest.

The accused was nowhere to be found and the police were summoned.

The cause of death was given as perforation to the kidney, stomach and spleen due to two stab wounds to the abdomen.

The state was represented by Lisa Cave and Mandel Moore while the defence attorney was Maxwell McKay.