Killer says 'sorry'

Man sentenced to 30 years for bludgeoning bosses expresses remorse

Observer staff reporter

Friday, February 23, 2018

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THE groundsman who bludgeoned his boss to death last March said yesterday that he was sorry for attacking the 76-year-old, but indicated that he was upset about not being paid money he had been promised for odd jobs.

The 27-year-old offender, Omar Graham, was arrested last March after attacking the owners of Moncrieffe's Patio Shop, Vassell and Barbara Moncrieffe, killing one of them and wounding two of his co-workers.

However, before Graham was sentenced to 30 years in prison on murder and wounding with intent charges yesterday, he expressed remorse and explained why he committed the gruesome act.

The craft maker, who is also called “Brown Man”, told Justice Martin Gayle that Vassell Moncrieffe was like an adopted father to him. He told the judge that and the couple reached out to him when he was 16 years old, after his father had left him.

But Graham said things changed when he turned 21 years old. He said Vassell Moncrieffe would often require him to perform odd jobs, which, he said, were outside of his duties at work.

Graham said one of the jobs was to clean the bathroom at work, for which he was ridiculed by his co-workers. He said Vassell Moncrieffe promised to pay him for those jobs, but did not fulfil that promise.

However, Graham, who had a sad disposition yesterday, said: “I am sorry.”

His lawyer, Lois Nelson, told the court that her client was very remorseful and that the incident had left him without a family.

She told the court that he lived an isolated life and that he became a loner after his father left the stable home which he was part of until age 16.

Nelson asked the judge to take into consideration the time that Graham had already spent in custody, which was a little under a year, his guilty plea, and the fact that he had no previous convictions.

Justice Gayle, in handing down the sentence, told the court that he would bear in mind all that Graham's lawyer had asked, but pointed out that the unfulfilled promise did not justify his action, neither did the fact that he was from a broken home.

“The public must be protected, and we can't have people behaving this way,” Justice Gayle said before handing down the sentence.

Graham was then ordered to serve 20 years in prison on the murder charge and 10 years each on three counts of wounding with intent.

The wounding charges, however, are to run concurrently, but consecutive to the 20-year sentence, and Graham will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years.

Graham was taken into custody after he went to the business place on Old Hope Road in St Andrew and attacked the victims following an argument with his employers on March 24, 2017.

The court heard that Vassell received a blow to his head, rendering him unconscious, and when he revived found his wife on the floor covered in blood.

Two female employees were also wounded: One received stabs wound to her shoulders, abdomen and back, while the other was hit in the head with a hammer.

All four were taken to hospital where Barbara was pronounced dead and the others admitted in stable condition.

Graham pleaded guilty last October during a sentencing-reduction exercise, which provides an opportunity for accused individuals to enter a guilty plea and benefit from a maximum of up to 50 per cent reduction in their sentence, according to the provisions of the Criminal Justice Administration Amendment Act, 2015.

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