By Latrishka Thomas
Murderer Akeem Henry has been sentenced to 24 years behind bars by Justice Colin Williams, who worked his way down from a possible 40-year stint.
Henry fatally shot Keon Carr on December 27 2019, apparently because Carr smiled at him in a way he perceived to be threatening.
The sentencing was preceded by testimonies from the victim’s mother Brenda Furlong and a former friend of the accused, as well as a social inquiry report which suggested that the convict was a good candidate for rehabilitation.
Furlong gave the court an emotional witness statement where she indicated that the death of her son has been traumatic and she still wanted to know why it happened.
But even after hearing the outcry of the distraught woman, the judge still could not proceed to sentencing the Green Bay man because the accused disagreed with some particular details as told by the prosecution.
According to the prosecution, Henry went to the home of a friend on December 26 2019, and during their conversation Henry told him that he intended to “knock down Keon” because he took his weed and didn’t want to pay for it.
Henry also showed his friend a gun and a magazine with five rounds, and his friend tried to convince him to rethink his decision.
The following day, sometime after 7pm, a number of men were sitting outside a bar on Christian Street in Gray’s Farm, and Carr later joined them.
Not long after, the defendant went up to the men and shot Carr four times in his neck, back, right forearm and chest.
A post mortem revealed that the bullet to his back penetrated the lung and travelled internally, causing damage to his liver.
The police were able to retrieve surveillance footage from a building close to the bar that showed the defendant in the area purchasing something to eat at around 7.24 pm.
Four minutes later, he was seen standing at the side of a building with his body almost fully hidden, looking in the direction of the bar.
At 7.34 pm, Carr emerged from a nearby yard, arriving at the bar within seconds.
It was about seven minutes later that Henry began walking towards the bar, and he was seen running away two minutes later.
Four days after the shooting, the defendant again went to the home of his friend and admitted to killing Carr.
He asked the friend to hold on to the gun, but the friend said no, that he would think about it.
His friend told the police what he knew in February 2020, but when arrested and questioned, Henry denied committing the serious crime, but shared that both he and the deceased sold weed for the same individual.
Subsequently, after he was told by an officer to come clean because there was evidence against him, Henry confessed and took the officers to Perry Bay to show them where in the ocean he’d thrown the murder weapon.
Henry, in his statement, said that Carr had looked at him and smiled, so he “did what he had to do”.
When probed for details on why he did it, the young man maintained that Carr was watching him for five to 10 minutes and had smiled at him, and he interpreted that to mean that he would have done something to him.
The point which defence attorney Wendel Robinson sought to challenge was in relation to Henry’s friend’s statement.
The defence claimed that the ‘friend’ was lying when he said Henry confessed to him.
The friend was therefore put on the stand and questioned but his testimony was disregarded because the judge found him to be “cagey, dodgy and unreliable”.
After evaluating all of the information, the judge found that there were more mitigating factors than aggravating factors that would reduce his sentence from the 40-year starting point.
In addition, one third was deducted because Henry admitted guilt.
Henry was therefore given a 24-year prison sentence, which will take into account time already served.
Murder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.