A man who threw gasoline over the husband of a woman with whom he was having an affair and then threatened to set him on fire was jailed for a year for the offense Friday.
Dousing a person in gasoline and threatening to set him alight was so far beyond normal behavior that no record could be found of it happening in Cayman before. Magistrate Valdis Foldats said the court had to do what it could to make sure it never happened again.
He imposed a sentence of 12-months’ immediate imprisonment for Kerry Rodary Jones, 39, who pleaded guilty to causing fear or provocation of violence. For a separate but related assault of a woman, the magistrate added four months, for a total of 16 months.
He said he was taking into account the effect a prison sentence would have on Jones’s family life, including the fact that the defendant had been on a work permit and might therefore be deported.
The throwing of the gasoline was not planned, but it was done deliberately with intent to cause terror, the magistrate said.
Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson urged a sentence of immediate imprisonment after setting out the facts on Tuesday. He said Jones had been having an affair with a married woman. The woman’s husband spoke with her about it and thought the affair had ended.
On the night of June 9, 2016, the man was driving and saw his wife’s vehicle ahead of him. He saw her turn into Jones’s driveway and Jones was there by his own vehicle. The man went to his wife’s car to talk with her and Jones went to the back of the property, returning with a two-liter soda bottle filled with a clear liquid.
Jones sprayed the other man from his head down his entire body. Some of the liquid got into the victim’s eyes. He became fearful because he did not know if Jones had a match. Jones threatened several times to set him on fire.
The victim called police and the 911 operator stayed on the line with him while sending police to the location.
Meanwhile, Jones had gone into his house. When police arrived, he said it was the victim who had attacked him and gone to the back of his house and seized the bottle. The bottle and the victim’s clothes were analyzed. Gasoline was present in both.
Jones gave a “no comment” interview but when the matter went to court he pleaded guilty early on. He had no previous convictions and sentencing was adjourned for a social inquiry report.
Jones was still on bail on Dec. 27, 2016 when he assaulted the woman. Mr. Ferguson summarized this offense also.
She had transported Jones so he could collect something from a friend. She said she was “surfing the web” while she waited for him. When Jones came out and sat in the car, she attempted to put the phone in her handbag on the floor when he began punching her and asking who she had been talking to.
He asked for her PIN so he could check her phone, but she refused to tell him. He continued to hit her, saying, “Why are you making me do this? Why?”
She tried to get out of the car but he pushed her back in. Then when she did escape, he caught her and put her in a choke hold, saying, “Why are you making me crazy? I love you.”
He smashed her work phone against a wall and then threw it over a fence, before walking off, telling her “This is what you caused.” She returned to her vehicle and left the scene.
Defense attorney John Furniss said the root cause of Jones’s behavior was alcohol, which led to expressions of anger and violence. Before passing sentence, the magistrate reviewed the victim impact reports.
The man had suffered psychological harm. At the time of the attack, all he could think of was his children; it had scared him to know that “this monster” could impact his life and his children’s lives. After the incident he was wary of his surroundings. When he got home, he worried that Jones might be in the bushes waiting for him.
The magistrate said that throwing any noxious substance, where that act is accompanied by threat of harm, must be punished with imprisonment.
For assault causing actual bodily harm to the woman, the sentence would have been one year because it was committed while Jones was on bail, it was in a domestic context and there was an ongoing effect on the woman.
Her arm was in a sling for a week; she needed ice to reduce the swelling and makeup to hide the bruises. She took alternate routes to avoid Jones on the road and in the supermarket.
The magistrate gave one-third credit for Jones’s guilty plea, reducing the one-year sentence to eight months. He subtracted another four months for a total prison term of 16 months. He noted that Jones had been to court in 2010 and had gone through the anti-domestic violence program then and no conviction was recorded against him.