Homicide victim had 87 convictions

The man who was found severely
beaten on the ground outside a Bodden Town shopping centre Friday had a lengthy
criminal record and had been most recently released from prison on a
manslaughter charge.

Jack Kennedy Forbes, 49, died after
being attacked outside the Plaza Odessa centre around 6.20pm Friday. According
to witness reports, Forbes was beaten and possibly stabbed in a fight with several

At press time, the Royal Cayman
Islands Police Service had arrested three men, ages 36, 20, and 18 on suspicion
of murder in connection with the killing. None of the three had been

When police found him on Friday,
Forbes was unconscious and paramedics were not able to revive him. He was
pronounced dead at the crime scene.

Forbes spent the majority of the
past decade in Northward Prison following a manslaughter conviction in February

According to court records, the
Bodden Town man was sentenced to 12 years in lock up for killing Steve Watler
in May 2000. The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal affirmed that sentence in April

It came out in Court of Appeal
proceedings that Mr. Forbes had assaulted Mr. Watler in 2000. According to
testimony, Mr. Watler was sent to hospital for a medical certificate after
reporting the matter to police, but he changed his mind and returned to Bodden
Town – allegedly to confront Forbes.

It was stated in court that the two
fought, and Forbes struck a killing blow during that fight using the flat of a
machete blade against the back of Mr. Watler’s neck.

During an appeal of the 12-year
sentence for manslaughter, Court of Appeal justices said that the lengthy
sentence would serve to remove an offender who was dangerous to society.

“Every time he goes out he has a
machete,” then Justice Ira Rowe said during the appeal proceedings (Caymanian
Compass, 11 April 2001). “He threatens to kill somebody and in the end he kills
somebody with his machete. What point can you make in his favour?”

The question was directed to
defence attorney John Furniss, who argued that the 12-year sentence was
excessive because Forbes was provoked into the fight on the second occasion.
The court did not agree. 

Then-Court of Appeal President
Edward Zacca called the May 2000 incident a “very bad case”, considering that
Mr. Watler had essentially taken in a man – Forbes – who had nowhere to live.

Prior to the manslaughter case, the
court noted that Forbes had 87 prior convictions, mostly for violence, weapons
charges and threatening violence.

RCIPS had not commented on any
motive in Forbes’ killing as of press time. His death is the eighth homicide in
Grand Cayman this year.


Arrest in WB killing

Royal Cayman Islands Police also
made an arrest over the weekend in connection with the killing of 20-year-old
Tyrone Burrell in West Bay last month.

Police said an operation in the
Birch Tree Hill area on Sunday led to the arrest of a 39-year-old man. At press
time, the man was jailed on suspicion of murder, possession of ganja and
consumption of ganja. No charges have been filed.

In the same operation, another man,
age 30, was arrested on suspicion of possession of ganja and consumption of
ganja. He also was not charged.

Mr. Burrell was shot to death on 8
September in the yard of a home on Birch Tree Hill Road where he had attended a

It was the same property where
29-year-old Damion Ming, an associate of Mr. Burrell’s, was shot dead in March.

Police said earlier that they
believed Mr. Burrell knew some details about Mr. Ming’s killing but refused to
speak with officers about that incident.


  1. Can’t agree with ‘BurningFish’ as only God has the Right to grant life or death.
    But one is still left wondering that how a man with 87 convictions (mostly for violence, weapons charges and threatening violence) is released from prison before completing his last conviction in 2001 of 12 years.

  2. how i see it no man has the right to take a next man life but… what tha media was gonna say if he killed those guys..tha police is no use!! wated to get this clear to the media also!! THE POLICE DID NOT ARREST THEN MEN THEY TURNED IN THIER SELVES PROVING THEY HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE!!MAY GHOD BE WITH THEM AND THA TRUTH SHALL SET THEM FREE

    Editor’s note: this comment had to edited for legal reasons.

  3. This man lost his life, and the media and police have the nerve to bring up his pass to try to use against him. They should be ashamed of themselves. Whether or not he did bad thing does not give anyone the right to take his life.

  4. so then it would been ok for forbes once again to have take those guys life!!am not saying there right but there is always a reaction to every mans action

  5. Same comment as last time – 87 convictions. At what point do you stop and say obviously the first 87!!!!! why was he out of jail? surely Cayman should start thinking of a 3 strikes and your out policy. What do you do with prisoners, put them to public works, that way the government can save money too. Perhaps make an arrangment with the US or Jamacia and send them to their prisons,, and pay their goverments. would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in Cayman too.

    87 convictions ?

  6. Cayman needs to take care of its own problem. It is unfair for the accused, Jamaica, USA or whichever country where you might send them. What makes you think that other countries should take people we can’t handle in our system?

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