Woman jailed for six years over Little Cayman killing

The woman who killed her lover shortly after moving into his Little Cayman home has been sentenced to six years imprisonment and will be deported to her native Honduras once her sentence is complete.

Justice Charles Quin told the Grand Court Tuesday that Elsy De Ortega Barralga had faced a substantial degree of provocation when she stabbed her boyfriend, Little Cayman businessman Perry McLaughlin, seven times on Nov. 2, 2013.

Barralga, 29, had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter, claiming she acted in self-defense.

The court heard that while Barralga did not call the police or for medical assistance, she did run to a neighbor’s house for help. She did not leave the scene or try to hide her blood-soaked clothing or the knife.

Justice Quin said Barralga and Mr. McLaughlin had been in a physical altercation in which he had forced her to the ground and punched her. While on the ground, she had picked up a knife that Mr. McLaughlin had thrown to the floor, the judge said.

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Justice Quin said medical evidence had shown that Mr. McLaughlin, 54, would have died within one minute of receiving the fatal stab wound.

“It is my view that the degree of provocation is substantial,” the judge said.
Highlighting sentencing guidelines, he said he could find no good reason to disagree with an eight-year sentence and reduced it by 25 percent because of Barralga’s guilty plea.

He said the couple had shared a happy and loving relationship and Mr. McLaughlin’s death was a “sad and tragic event that never should have happened.”

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  1. I was somewhat surprised to see that someone could get only six years for killing another person.

    Is it true that each day served is treated as two days and that actual time served can be reduced by as much as 1/3 for good behavior? If so, I am surprised that there has not been many more killings in the Cayman Islands.

  2. Mack, many people around the world get no time at all, such was the abuse suffered. Maybe you should speak to some of the women who get to stay safe with the Crisis Centre in order to understand how abused they are.

    I am not familiar with the case here, but there are many women in this country who get beaten on a very regular basis, and it isn’t confined to ill-educated or poorer families.

  3. @Jenny: Thank you for the feedback.
    You seem quick to assume that the woman in question was most likely a victim of domestic violence and that the killing was most likely in self defense. What you might not be aware of is the fact that many men are also victims of domestic violence but do not report such incidents out of fear or because they have been conditioned from a very young age to believe that men should just take the abuse.
    Men are truly the silent victims of domestic abuse and until there is a change in way treat the men within our community we will never be able to get a handle on this problem.

  4. Mack…

    There is no excuse for making comments on this case without all the facts…this case has been reported on extensively and in detail in Caycompass before the sentencing article that you’re commenting on.

    On the reported facts, I’m surprised that this sentence is so high…6 years for a manslaughter killing that emerged out of a self-defense situation seems unduely harsh to me…and probably will be cut down on appeal.

    By all accounts, this woman was fighting for her very life and the knife used was one that the deceased had picked up during the fight…and then dropped.

    It must be obvious that she was in fear for her own life, at the time.

    No one who has never been in such a situation can ever imagine the frame of mind that anyone who is in a life-and-death fight for their very survival could be in at that time…it is not a clear rational one, of that much I can assure you.

    And, by all accounts, this was such a situation.

    It would appear that no defense of self-defense is allowed in British law, regardless of the threat to their own life that anyone is facing…

    This is gross injustice, imo.

  5. I have worked in this industry for 30 years now and I can tell you 3 things from a historical perspective. First: These people will lie to themselves and will convenience themselves that they have no other alternatives. I have set women up in shelters only to have them leave that same night and go back to the abusive environment. I have had men thrown out of the homes by the woman only to go back and start trouble with her support group. They remind me of kids. If one is not starting it, the other is. I have seen men leave their wives and kids and start dating the drug using, bad girl stripper because she possessed that 5% wild life quality that their wife lacked at home. I have seen women do the exact same thing. They will have a husband that does not have any of the common vices and only lives to work and provide for the family. The wife abandons her family and starts running with the bad boy because he is not boring like her husband.
    Second: You can’t think like these people. We attempt to view their behavior through a common sense perspective that just does not apply when dealing with them. We all know someone, perhaps members of our own family that throw away promising futures in pursuit of a lifestyle that we know is not in their best interest. Then they start telling you about how the boyfriend is beating them or the girlfriend is cheating on them. When you ask them why they don’t leave, they tell you that they love them. This has no logical base to the common sense observer.
    Third: When someone is eventually killed as a result of these volatile relationships, the only side of the story that remains is delivered by the survivor. The survivor can paint the deceased any way they want and most of the time a lot is based in fact. However they just fail to mention their own culpability in the manner. It makes no difference the gender. These people create and maintain their on living conditions. Remember that these people don’t have to be the poor uneducated. There was a famous example of these when NASA Astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak who flew aboard Space Shuttle Discover during the STS-121 mission in July 2006. She was responsible for operating the robotic arms of the International Space Station. However on February 5, 2007, she was arrested in Orlando, Florida and subsequently charged with the attempted kidnapping of U.S. Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, who was romantically involved with astronaut William Oefelein. Nowak eventually agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to charges of felony burglary of a car and misdemeanor battery. This could have ended the same way as Mr. McLaughlin’s case did.

  6. Umm, Mack I can tell you that while, yes men do get abused by their spouses, it is a rare occurrence compared to the abuse of women by their spouses.
    Some men cannot go to bed at night if they have not beat their wife or in their puny brains, showed them who the boss is, who wears the pants, who runs things or whatever egotistical, chauvinistic and misogynist BS they tell themselves.

    If only walls could talk, the compass would run out of paper.