After enduring a “lifetime of abuse”, Waylon Timothy Rivers stabbed and killed his father, Timothy Buel Rivers at the family farm in Hutland, North Side in June 2018. He was sentenced Wednesday to three years in jail.
Initially, Waylon Rivers was charged with a single count of murder. However, that charge was later changed to manslaughter, to which he pled guilty. An agreed basis of plea filed before the Grand Court in March this year revealed that the deceased was verbally abusive towards Rivers and his mother.
In a recording captured on the mother’s phone, the deceased can be heard telling his son, “I hope that a car lick [hit] you down. Somebody going to kill you soon.”
Initially, Rivers denied any involvement with his father’s death and attempted to blame two unknown Jamaicans.
However, during a follow-up interview with police, he gave a different account.
He said, in the morning, a few hours before the stabbing, he tried to steal some cigarettes that were under his father’s bed, but he could not reach them, so he got a knife to pry them forward. His father awoke, saw him with the knife and accused Rivers of trying to kill him.
Rivers said that, later that day, when he went to work at the farm, his father began shouting and cursing at him again, calling him and his mother “thieves that were no better than dogs”. Rivers said he grabbed the knife that was in his father’s hand, and a struggle ensued. While the two fell, he stabbed his father.
“I just wanted him to stop, I didn’t mean to kill him,” said Rivers in a police interview.
A psychiatric evaluation revealed that the defendant suffered from a learning disability, among other medical illnesses.
When sentencing Rivers, via video link, Justice Timothy Owens said, “This is a highly unusual case. You were abused by your father. His behaviour resulted in cruel and dangerous abandonment issues.”
The judge said several mitigating factors strengthened Rivers defence, including that there was a single stab wound, Rivers had endured a lifetime of abuse from his father, he was 19 years old at the time of the killing, and was of previous good character.
Justice Owens imposed a three-year sentence for the charge of manslaughter. The judge used a starting point of five years but reduced it to reflect a 20% discount for a late guilty plea and the several mitigating factors.