TWO men were on Thursday each sentenced to eight years and eight months for the murder of Freeport businessman Robert Baboolal in 2009.
Sherwin Joseph and Stephen Seepersad both pleaded guilty to killing Baboolal at his business place, Mission Road General Supplies Hardware on May 29, 2009.
Baboolal was bound and gagged and was bludgeoned to death based on the autopsy report.
Joseph and Seepersad’s motivation was to enrich themselves by robbing their victim, the judge said as he sentenced the two.
St Clair-Douglas said the fact was Baboolal was targeted at a place where he was likely to interrupt them, and the robbery was “bound to result in violence.”
The judge also pointed out there was significant use of violence during the robbery before Baboolal was killed. According to him there was a large contusion to the head meaning he received a significant blow.
Three of the businessman’s relatives, including his daughter, were in court when Joseph and Seepersad were sentenced.
When he was killed, Baboolal’s workers saw smoke coming from the back of the hardware and they found a wooden pallet on fire.
Baboolal’s body was found close to the pallet. Blood was running from the left side of the head, close to his left ear.
At the time, relatives said he received threats to his life and to burn down his hardware.
He was described as hard-working and industrious by relatives.
The judge found no aggravating factors which would have gone against the two men, but they did receive a discount for their good prison record.
Neither man has any infractions of the prison rules recorded against them and have both taken self-esteem and anger management courses while incarcerated for the last ten years and eight months as part of the prison’s “Prisoner’s Journey” programme.
Joseph has assisted in the planning and mobilization of prison sporting events and was said to be a referee for cricket and football matches while Seepersad has also taken educational programmes, which, according to the judge, had the effect of “softening their transition back into society.”
He said the programmes they took served to provide them with skills and the social tools they need to assist them upon their release and “steer them away from re offending.”
“They ought to see their efforts recognised,” he said. St Clair-Douglas started with a sentence of 30 years’ hard labour but took off the one year for their rehabilitation efforts, the full one-third for their guilty plea and the time they spent awaiting their trial.
Their sentence of eight years, eight months’ hard labour will begin to run from Thursday, as ordered by the judge.
The State was represented by prosecutor Danielle Thompson.