TEN of 12 jurors yesterday Tuesday March 16, 2009 voted to convict 25-year-old Sheldon Pusey of manslaughter in the death of former trade ambassador Peter King, following three hours of what the foreman later described as “very intense” deliberations.
Pusey. to be sentenced April 1
Pusey was originally indicted on the offence of murder for the March 19, 2006 stabbing death of King, but the majority of jurors opted to convict on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The other two jurors wanted to free Pusey, a carpenter by trade.
Pusey, who sat motionless in the prisoners’ dock at the Home Circuit Court while the verdict was being announced, will be sentenced on April 1.
Following the adjournment, defence attorney Berriston ‘Berry’ Bryan told reporters that he will be appealing the verdict and that grounds for appeal should be filed by this Thursday.
“I’m going to the Court of Appeal. I don’t accept that verdict,” Bryan said. “The prosecution has suppressed evidence critical to the defence.”
The suppressed evidence to which Bryan referred is the prosecution’s decision not to tender into evidence two knives that were taken from King’s Waterloo Road, Kingston 10 home on March 20, 2006, a day after
The prosecution, led by Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Caroline Hay, had said during the trial that the knives were not relevant to the case, as no blood or prints belonging to King or the accused were found on them.
Pusey, a resident of Gordon Town in St Andrew, had been on trial since January 19 for the murder of the 64-year-old King, whose nude, mutilated body was found in his bedroom covered by a comforter.
King’s body, with the throat slashed, had a total of 30 wounds, including four stabs and four chops, any of which could have caused his death, according to Government pathologist Dr Ere Seshiah, who gave evidence during the trial.
The defence had contended that Pusey had stabbed King but only after King drugged and attempted to sodomise him. Pusey testified that he had gone to King’s house in search of a job, when King attacked him.
But prosecution witnesses testified that on the night of the killing Pusey and King were seen coming out of King’s bedroom sporting nothing but underpants and socks and that both men went back to the room after having a meal.
Pusey was held a year after the incident and confessed to the police that he had killed King.
Yesterday, jury foreman Rudyard Williams explained that the jurors were not of the view that Pusey had gone to King’s house with the intention to kill.
In arriving at the manslaughter verdict, Williams said the 10 jurors took into consideration Pusey’s evidence that he had stabbed King.
Williams said also that the defence’s argument that King drugged Pusey would be stronger if the bottle from which Pusey had been drinking an alcoholic beverage was examined for drug residue.
He said also that the jurors felt that a third party was involved in the killing as blood found on the scene could not be identified, plus there was no match for a toe print found in the pool of blood at King’s bedside.
“Originally we had eight saying manslaughter and three saying not guilty with one saying murder. The debate was very, very intense. At one point they were even arguing,” said Williams, who noted that neither King’s nor Pusey’s sexuality was a factor in arriving at a verdict