Man pleads not guilty to Agricola 2008 murder
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Accused: Sylvester Vanderhyden
Accused: Sylvester Vanderhyden

THIRTEEN years after Melissa Payne was fatally shot during an armed robbery at Agricola Public Road, East Bank Demerara, her alleged killer, Sylvester Vanderhyden, on Wednesday, pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Vanderhyden of Block ‘A’ Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo appeared before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow at the Demerara High Court and pleaded not guilty to the capital offence.

It is alleged that on November 5, 2008 at Agricola, East Bank Demerara, Vanderhyden murdered Payne during the course or furtherance of a robbery.

He is being represented by attorney-at-law George Thomas, while prosecutor Lisa Cave is on record for the state.

DEAD: Melissa Payne

A jury was empanelled to hear the case which will commence with the testimony of the first witness on Thursday morning.

According to reports, on November 5, 2008, at about 08:30 hrs, Payne, along with her reputed husband, Devon Thomas, were in a canter truck heading to Georgetown to conduct business.

As the couple was approaching Agricola, the truck encountered mechanical problems. Fraser came out and tried to fix the truck, as Payne stood and watched him.

A few moments later, one of two bandits came up to them with a gun and demanded their money.  The armed man snatched Fraser’s gold chain and attempted to pull away Payne’s handbag.

Payne resisted and was fatally shot in her chest. The men then escaped with some $110,000 in cash that was in the woman’s bag, along with her jewellery.

In November 2017, Jermaine Savory, formerly of Second Street, Agricola, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a High Court judge after he was found guilty of killing Payne.

Savory had confessed to investigators that he had participated in the robbery but was not the trigger man. In 2016, after being on the run from the police, Vanderhyden was finally arrested and charged for the offence.

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