Judge calls Raziel Jeffers a ‘calculating, cold-blooded killer’
The jury delivered its unanimous verdict Thursday afternoon, after deliberations that began Wednesday afternoon.
Jeffers was charged with murdering Mr. Ming on the night of March 25, 2010, in West Bay. Mr. Ming died of gunshot wounds to his chest area.
Justice Malcolm Swift imposed the only sentence provided by law – life imprisonment.
First, however, the judge told Jeffers that he viewed him as a “calculating, cold-blooded killer.”
He then told the jurors that their verdict was one with which he entirely agreed.
He said everyone appreciated how difficult their task was and the tremendous stress of considering a case of such gravity. He extended the thanks of these islands for their vital service.
A verdict of guilty on a murder charge must be unanimous.
The seven men and five women deliberated about two-and-a-half hours Wednesday and another three-and-a half hours on Thursday. The trial began on March 17.
Before they retired to deliberate Wednesday, the judge told the jury in his summary of the evidence that they should not speculate about evidence which was not given. There had been many names mentioned in the case – people in the house or yard where the shooting occurred, or the men Jeffers said he was with that evening – who did not give evidence in the trial.
“Do not speculate as to why they have not been called by either side and about what they might have said if called,” the judge said. He pointed out that any guesswork could be wrong.
“Who knows whether any of those people could or would have given any relevant evidence at all?” he told jurors.
Because the defense had attacked the character of Mr. Ming and Jeffers’s ex-girlfriend, who said he had confessed to her details of how he shot Mr. Ming, the Crown was entitled to introduce the bad character of the defendant. The judge warned jurors they must not take the view that because Jeffers had previously been convicted of murder, it was more likely that he was guilty of this offense. Bad character alone cannot prove guilt, he said.
Jeffers, who testified last week and provided an alibi, acknowledged that he previously had been convicted of murder but said he did not do it.