A man who claims he is being wrongfully accused of murdering his girlfriend Shannon Whyte just over a year ago has broken his silence for the first time publicly saying he too wants justice and forgiveness from her family.
In an interview on Thursday, near his Port of Spain workplace, Kerry Babb said his life was upended after he found 29-year-old Whyte unresponsive, submerged in a barrel of water and a bullet wound to the head at his Mon Repos, Morvant home.
When her body was removed from the barrel, she was holding a Glock pistol with 20 rounds of .40 ammunition in her right hand. Her right elbow was bent and her thumb on the trigger, a police report said.
From preliminary findings, police suspect Whyte died by suicide. An autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre revealed Whyte died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Her family believes she was murdered. Whyte was a former Newsday employee who worked in the advertising department.
On July 1, 2021, just around 10 pm, Babb was taken into police custody for questioning in connection with the death of his childhood crush. He was later released without charge.
Babb told Sunday Newsday he is eager for the police to conclude their investigation and hopes it would clear his name and help him get his life back. He declined to be photographed or disclose his employer.
“Just as everyone else, I want justice for Shannon. I want justice in the form of truth. I want people to know and understand I would never hurt her.”
Babb told Newsday he wishes her family would give him a chance to sit with them and tell the story.
“I would tell them from the beginning, up to the last time I saw her. My side of the story; not what someone repeats and whatever they want to think or do after is fine by me.”
But when contacted for a response on Friday, Whyte’s mother Veronica Whyte shot down his attempt to make amends. For her, Babb missed his chance to prove his innocence.
Babb said Whyte’s family and friends share different beliefs as some are convinced he is guilty and others believe he is innocent.
“They believe I did it. The threats I get is like they know I did it or I pushed her to it, or I’m responsible in some way.
“This whole thing is terrifying. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. I keep asking myself ‘How would I do something like this?’ After so many years with her and I have so much to lose. It seem like there is no such thing as ‘innocent until proven guilty’ for me.
“I got death threats right through, I was under police protection for months. People started to deal with me different. Now I don’t go anywhere, I can’t live comfortably because until my name is cleared I’ll be targeted...But even if my name is cleared people already labelled me as responsible so I’m not sure if my life would be normal again.”
Babb lamented Whyte has been good to him and had always supported him.
“She never cared if we had to go without food, we were always there for each other.”
The night before the incident, the couple argued over a phone call Babb received just after 7 pm.
Babb asked Whyte to leave and spend some time with her mother.
“The argument lead to other things and she started to vent and bring up other things too. I was like ‘Is what going on. (It’s) better you go down by your mother and stay and I will come and visit you or stay with you down by your mom because she was doing over her room down there. She said she don’t want to go anywhere.”
The argument became heated, he said.
“I told her she needs to seek her mom's attention because I cannot help you. She started to get violent, she dive on me. We scuffle, I held her down and she said she not going no way.”
Babb called Whyte’s brother, sister and his mother when the situation got out of control.
“We sat and talked for about three hours. After we done talk, things got normal and she (Whyte) said she understand.”
The couple went to bed around 1 am and he left for work early that morning after Whyte made breakfast.
Babb said during the day he met up with his mother and younger brother, and father on his way to work.
Babb, who is an electrician, said he stepped out of work after 4 pm when a neighbour called him asking for help after a tree fell on electrical power lines.
“Where he’s living I could look up and see home by me. I saw her in the yard walking around, she was sitting on one of the benches in the yard. When the rain start to fall she went inside and I went inside by the neighbour because we were liming too. I know she knew I was down the hill. When I check the time I realised I had to return to work so I went back.”
He said he finished and left work at 8.20 pm and followed up on his neighbour once more before heading home right before the start of curfew hour which went into effect at 9 pm.
“When I walked through the yard the first thing I observed the door open and all the lights on. Normally she would be listening to music or TV. I heard nothing.
“When I walked inside I saw her bags like she was packing to go by her mom. I say ‘she really listen to me she’s going by her mom.’”
As he walked through the house he noticed hair floating on top of a barrel of water which had been set aside to mix concrete for ongoing repairs at the house.
“I thought she put her hair there to wash because recently she was helping with the cement and I helped her take out her wig, and she told me she had to wash it. I said ‘Why Shannon put her wig in the barrel to wash. I doubt she put soap in this barrel when she know we use it to mix things.
“I put my hand to take out the wig and I feel something hard. When I watched the water properly I see blood and a head. The only person I could call at that time was my mother who lives next door.”
Babb said though he and his mother was traumatised they quickly called the police, ambulance, Whyte’s mother, sister and brother.
The scene was processed by police and crime scene experts and Whyte was declared dead and removed to the Forensic Science Centre.
Investigations into her death are ongoing.
Whyte’s mother renewed her call for justice.
“He never came to me when he had the chance so why he wants to do it now?” she asked adding, “that is why I suspected him."
“A year has passed and no attempt to clear his name. It won’t make sense to do it now.”
With a faint quiver in her voice, she said, “I could have gone a different way. I choose not to and I say let me leave that in God's hands.”
She spent the past year visiting her daughter’s grave as a coping mechanism to help accept the grim reality.
From Whyte’s death, her mother said she grew closer to her younger children, careful not to make the same mistakes she made in the relationship she had with her eldest daughter.