FORMER Guyana Defence Force captain, Orwain Sandy, was, on Tuesday, sentenced to life imprisonment, with the possibility of parole after serving 20 years, for shooting his reputed wife to death in 2018.
Last week, Sandy, who was initially charged for the capital offence of murder, opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
Sandy, who served as Special Assistant to the former Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, admitted to the new charge which read that he unlawfully killed Reona Payne on March 31, 2018, at First Street, Alexander Village.
He was represented by attorney-at-law Ravindra Mohabir while the state was represented by prosecutor Lisa Cave.
During the sentencing hearing, Payne’s ex-husband, Richard Bevany, gave a victim impact statement.
Bevany explained that he and Payne were married for 12 years and have three kids together. However, that union ended six years ago and Payne was involved with Sandy.
Bevany explained that Payne’s death has impacted his life and more so his children.
He explained that he had found it in himself to forgive Sandy but the family was still saddened by Payne’s death.
Sandy’s lawyer told the court that his client had a “sudden and temporary loss of self control due to provocation.”
According to attorney Mohabir, on that fatal day in question, that couple had an argument over a man named “Kwame”.
Sandy had requested Payne to call Kwame and end the affair she was having with him.
During the argument, Payne reportedly threw Sandy’s firearm out of the car window which caused him to become angry.
Sandy in his address to the court said that he has learnt a lot from the whole ordeal which has caused him to become passionate to advocate against domestic violence and intimate partner violence.
He recounted that on the day of the killing he suffered a mental breakdown, and, that after the killing, he was haunted by suicidal thoughts. Even though he is behind bars, Sandy promised that he will continue to serve his country by helping to bring about change in the prisons and among his fellow inmates.
Sandy also explained that he suffered a mental breakdown and during his time behind bars he was battling with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Prosecutor Cave in her address to the court said that offence such as men killing women has become a trend in society and needed to be stopped.
She also asked the Judge to send a strong message to like-minded individuals that such acts cannot be tolerated.
In sentencing Justice Kissoon considered the mitigating and aggravating factors such as a gun being used and the number of times Payne was shot.
In the end, the Judge imposed the life sentence on Sandy and ordered that he be eligible for parole after serving 20 years.
The Guyana Chronicle had reported that Sandy, after committing the act, surrendered to police at the Ruimveldt Police Station, on Saturday, March 31, 2018.
A post-mortem report revealed that Payne died from 14 gunshot wounds to her body – 13 to her chest and one to the head.
The police have confirmed that Sandy used his service firearm during the shooting. Police sources also related that the soldier had, on one occasion, lodged his firearm at the police station, during a domestic dispute.
One source said the soldier had suspected that Reona was being unfaithful and was conversing with someone from overseas.
It was reported that Sandy had planned to drop Payne off at her place of work when she received a phone call allegedly from the same person from overseas.
When the soldier questioned her and asked her to desist from railroading their relationship, an argument ensued and in the vicinity of the masjid in First Street, Alexander Village, Reona grabbed the soldier’s firearm and threw it out of the car.
According to the source, Sandy stopped the vehicle to retrieve the weapon and Payne exited too, and, after picking up the gun, he fired in her direction, emptying the entire magazine.