A MAN charged with the 2007 shooting death of a taxi driver was sentenced on Monday to 16 years and six months in jail.
Kelechi Seon, 36, of Moruga, pleaded guilty to murder before Justice Kathy Ann Waterman-Latchoo.
The victim was taxi driver Jason Collymore, 29, of Hope Road, Princes Town, who worked the Princes Town-San Fernando route.
Since the murder was committed in pursuit of a robbery, the intention was not to kill and Seon was allowed to plead guilty under the murder-felony rule.
At about 6.30 pm on November 20, Seon got into Collymore’s car at the San Fernando taxi stand. There were two passengers in it. Two other men got in with Seon.
On reaching Ste Madeleine, Seon, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, pointed a gun at Collymore and said, "Give me your money."
He told the man sitting behind Collymore to take the cellphones from the other passengers.
Collymore was ordered to drive into a lonely road. The passengers got out and ran.
One passenger, however, heard the man who tried to drag Collymore out of the taxi, say "Why you looking at meh face?"
He also saw him hitting Collymore
Collymore was found in his taxi with blood dripping from his temple. His foot was on the accelerator and the engine was revving.
State attorneys Danielle Thompson and Katrisha Ambrose appeared on behalf of the State. Attorney Renuka Rambhajan represented Seon.
In passing sentence, Waterman-Latchoo described the killing as a ghastly act committed on a young man whose life was snuffed out. Collymore's parents sat in court and sobbed.
The judge said, "Jason won a president's gold medal in the cadet force.
"It happens often, but such crimes are always fresh. It affects all of us. All of us sitting here suffer."
From her 30-year jail sentence, the judge afforded Seon the mandatory one-third deduction for his guilty plea as required by the sentencing guidelines. She deducted three and a half years for good character, remorse and his age at the time.
Seon will serve 16 years and six months in jail. He has been in custody for the past 11 years, seven months and 25 days.