Judge notes quick action of resort’s office manager
George Dexter Evans, who has been in custody since setting fires at Plantation Village Resort last December, was further remanded on Friday after Justice Charles Quin found him guilty of attempted murder and damage to property intending to endanger the life of his wife.
Evans, represented by attorney John Furniss, had pleaded not guilty to those charges, but guilty to arson on the basis of being reckless as to whether the life of another would be endangered. Senior Crown Counsel Trevor Ward said those pleas were not acceptable and the matter went to trial by judge alone (Caymanian Compass, 4 August).
In his judgment, delivered Friday afternoon, Justice Quin said he was impressed by the clear and cogent evidence of Evans’ wife, who worked in housekeeping at the resort, and of Lisa Seymour, the office manager. He found their evidence honest and reliable.
After summarising all evidence, including written statements, and reviewing the law, he set out his conclusions.
Justice Quin said Evans had become exceedingly jealous of what he perceived to be his wife’s infidelity and had indicated that people like her should not be allowed to live.
On Sunday morning, 12 December, Evans went to Plantation Village with a machete and Ms Seymour, who knew him, told him to leave. He did, but returned 30 minutes later. He was calm when he entered the front office and Ms Seymour called Mrs. Evans. Evans invited his wife outside because he had “something good” to give her.
Mrs. Evans followed him to the door, but when she saw him come from his truck with a bottle labelled H-7, she attempted to close the door between them. Ms Seymour ran to the door to help Mrs. Evans close it against Evans. Before they got it closed completely, Evans had shoved his hand inside and was spraying the contents of the bottle on Mrs. Evans. The substance was later tested and found to contain gasoline.
“The Court notes that the defendant was only prevented from spraying more of Mrs. Evans’ body with gasoline by the quick action and assistance from Ms Seymour. The defendant sprayed the crack in the door and the door itself and immediately lit the gasoline he had sprayed on the door when Mrs. Evans just managed to close with Ms Seymour’s assistance,” Justice Quin said. The fact that Evans immediately used a lighter to start the blaze led the judge to the logical and compelling inference that Evans had poured gasoline into the H-7 bottle before going to the resort.
The fire on the door went out quickly, but Evans then drove his truck into the door of the reception area, making a large hole; he poured more gasoline from a larger container, immediately setting the gasoline on fire.
“I find that all these actions on the part of the defendant, when taken as a whole, demonstrate an intention to kill Mrs. Evans, and only the quick action of stopping the defendant from spraying more gasoline over Mrs. Evans prevented the defendant from killing her,” Justice Quin said. He was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Evans was guilty of attempted murder and arson with intent.
The court heard damage to the premises was US$200,000. After Mrs. Evans pulled the fire alarm, six men pushed the truck away from the office building to prevent a possible explosion, while Ms Seymour and guests used fire extinguishers on the blaze until the fire department arrived. Justice Quin set sentencing for Friday, 7 October, to allow time for a social inquiry report and a psychiatric evaluation to be made.