Two plead guilty to chopping Valencia man 27 times

- File photo
- File photo

TWO men have been sentenced for their roles in chopping an acquaintance during a fight over profits from a punch business they started in Valencia in 2009.

Franklyn Daniel Julien, also known as Barney, 34, and Alister "Star” Ferdinand, 31, were sentenced by Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds on February 28, after she accepted their guilty pleas.

The two had plea-deal discussions with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution which allowed them to plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter on the basis of provocation.

They were before the court on a murder indictment for the killing of Orande Nwardo Reyes, also known as “Half ah Man,” sometime in September 2009.

Reyes was chopped 27 times, with 11 fatal injuries to the skull and brain. His body was dug out of a shallow grave on September 28, 2009.

The judge agreed to a starting-point sentence of 24 years for both men, who also received credit for their good behaviour in prison, their guilty pleas and the time they have already spent incarcerated.

After the relevant deductions, Julien was left with three months left to serve on his sentence and Ferdinand has three months and 11 days left.

In describing Reyes's killing, Ramsumair-Hinds said gratuitous violence was used, although there was a degree of provocation since he had a history of threatening the men.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, Julien told a neighbour he had killed a man, then told her “Half ah Man” would not be passing by her home again. She thought it was a joke, but he told her he had chopped Reyes and he and Ferdinand took his body in a wheelbarrow up a hill, where they buried it.

Another neighbour saw Julien pushing a wheelbarrow containing something wrapped in a white sheet and held down with two bags of cement. She also saw blood outside Ferdinand’s house.

Another neighbour told police Julien had admitted he and Ferdinand chopped Reyes after the latter pulled a gun at them and threatened to kill them and their families.

In an interview with police, Julien said he and Reyes began a punch business and after he made a profit, he repaid a $400 loan and also shared some of the business's profits with him.

He said he told Reyes he wanted to start his own business but Reyes did not agree, accusing him of trying to rob him. Julien decided to end things with Reyes but was threatened. Julien said Reyes pulled a gun on him.

He said Reyes and Ferdinand, who was nearby, got into a scramble and he started chopping Reyes. He borrowed a fork, dug a hole and buried Reyes. Julien later took the police to where Reyes was buried.

Ferdinand told police, “This half ah man had a conflict with Barney and he come home by me with a blade and chop me, and Barney dive for we blade and Barney chop him up, and I hit him some chop too, boss.”

Julien was charged on September 30, 2009, and Ferdinand on October 9, 2009.

In sentencing the two, Ramsumair-Hinds said while she was not attributing blame to anyone, Julien had dropped out of school at standard four, so “somebody dropped the ball.”

She said a child was not born a criminal and someone, not only a parent but also the teacher or principal, should have recognised when he fell through the gap.

“Everyone must open their eyes to the gaps. Many people contribute to the making of a man or woman.”

The judge also acknowledged the role literacy played in recidivism. She said while Julien’s reading abilities had improved somewhat, he could not read or write when he went to jail. She urged him to take up the free courses available at the public libraries when he is released because without being able to read, write or even know maths, he would encounter difficulties, especially since he says he hopes to enrol in an electrical wiring programme.

Ferdinand dropped out of school at 14 after returning from the US and admitted he was not the most level-headed or mature individual at the time of the killing.

Both men were credited for not having any infractions in prison and the trust placed in them by the prison authorities.

Ramsumair-Hinds declined to release the men immediately, telling them they were still relatively young.

“What you do with your future is entirely up to you.”

She told them the society they were returning to was “rougher and harder.”

“You have to know what you’re going back to…Start slow. Whatever caused you to act the way you did, address it. Get help for anger management if you need it.”

They were represented by public defenders Delicia Helwig-Robertson, Adaphia Trancuso- Ribero and Michael Modeste. Charmaine Samuel represented the State.


"Two plead guilty to chopping Valencia man 27 times"

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