Judge wished he could have sentenced McLean to death

Observer staff reporter

Friday, April 13, 2018

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BEFORE sentencing St Thomas businessman Michael McLean to 48 years in prison for slaughtering six members of a family, Justice Bertram Morrison yesterday expressed regret that he could not sentence the unrepentant killer to death.

McLean, 51, was given six life terms and sentenced to 60 years in prison before parole. However, his sentence was reduced by 12 years for the time he has already spent in custody.

“Sad to say hanging is not one of the options I have in this case today,” Justice Morrison said before handing down the sentence in the Home Circuit Court.

“If it was, I certainly would have no hesitation in making that pronouncement,” he added, saying that he had taken note of the wishes of residents of the Duhaney Pen community in St Thomas where the six victims had lived before their untimely demise and also the victims' relatives who felt that McLean was deserving of the death penalty.

A probation officer who had spoken with residents in the community earlier told the court the general view among them was that McLean should never again see the light of day.

They also said that they would be sad if he was given a short sentence. “Some say he should be hanged for what he did, especially in light of what he did to the innocent children,” the probation officer said, adding that the victims' relatives held a similar view.

Justice Morrison, in handing down the sentence, ordered that McLean serve 20 years each on the first three counts of murder before he becomes eligible for parole. On the other three counts, he said, McLean should also serve 20 years but the sentences should run concurrent to the first three counts.

Justice Morrison, in considering the sentence, said the evidence was stark and he had to bear in mind the information provided by residents of the community who painted a picture of McLean as being a very dangerous man with an intense anger problem and also a woman beater.

The judge highlighted aspects of the report, which indicated that McLean had a proclivity to control and abuse the women in his life and whom he had used his money to attract.

The judge also pointed to a report from the residents which revealed that McLean would often lock his women inside their homes in barrels, leaving holes for them to breathe. In addition, the report said that McLean reportedly slashed the throats of several goats in the community after a goat had damaged his vehicle.

The judge also took note of a psychiatric report in which the doctor indicated that McLean had an antisocial disorder, that he had no mental illness and had a clear mind.

“I have no doubt in my mind that some level of thought was given to the plan and how to execute it,” Justice Morrison told McLean, noting that it was no coincidence that, based on the evidence, the victims were killed right after McLean had visited a spiritual man who told him that he saw “whole heap a blood” and “no gun, only sharp knives”.

“It is no coincidence that immediately after that was related to him, a plan was hatched and the children were executed like lambs to slaughter,” the judge added.

The judge said he also had to consider the fear that McLean has instilled in residents of the community who were still afraid of him even while he was in jail.

Additionally, the judge said he had to take into account the prevalence of murders in the country.

“Death has opened many doors to take us away and you have added new dimension to the way murders are effected,” he said.

McLean, who had looked worried but not remorseful and sat during the sentencing with his arms folded, said that he was not given a fair trial and that people had used money to ensure this.

“A real trial was not conducted. This is what you call a kangaroo trial. You are sending an innocent man to prison,” he said.

McLean was convicted of six counts of murder on March 6 by unanimous verdict in relation to the deaths of his girlfriend, Terry-Ann Mohammed, her niece, Patrice Martin-McCool and their children, Lloyd McCool, 2; Jihad McCool, 6; Sean Chin, 8; and Jesse O'Gilvie, 9 in St Thomas in February 2006.

The bodies of five of the victims were found in bushes with their throats slashed, with Mohammed's torso severely burnt.

The body of the sixth victim, six-year-old Jihad, was found a week later in a shallow grave in St Mary.

McLean has denied any involvement in the killings. He claimed that gunmen had ambushed him at Mohammed's home and had taken her and Jihad away and killed them, leaving him behind. In relation to the other four victims, he said he had no knowledge of how they had met their demise.

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