By Latrishka Thomas
What the court described as a “brazen, opportunistic robbery” has landed three individuals in prison for 14 years.
Kenisha Whyte-Challenger, Kerriano Thomas and Jevon Lloyd were jointly convicted of aggravated robbery after they pleaded guilty to invading the home of Teresa Anne Michael, the sister of well-known politician, Asot Michael MP, on May 11 2019 and stealing over $600,000 in jewellery and other items.
Whyte-Challenger was the mastermind of the heist having worked for the complainant as a domestic worker a year prior to the incident.
She was fired within a short time after monies went missing from Teresa Michael’s Blue Waters home.
According to the facts of the case, Whyte-Challenger, Thomas and Lloyd went to the victim’s residence where Whyte-Challenger exited the vehicle and found a domestic worker alone at the premises.
Upon being informed that the occupants of the house were not at home, Whyte-Challenger is said to have gotten back into the car and reversed.
The worker reportedly took out her phone and attempted to photograph the vehicle’s licence plate number when the woman stopped the car and one of the men jumped out.
He allegedly pointed a gun at the worker, which caused her to lock herself in a bedroom and call the police.
The trio then entered the house and stole an iPad valued at $1,350, $5,400 cash, and jewellery worth $645,394.50.
Yesterday, the trio appeared in the High Court for sentencing before Justice Ann-Marie Smith.
But first, the court heard from the victim who told the court, “our whole way of life had to change”.
She explained that at the time of the robbery her husband was dropping her off at the airport but her housekeeper was at the house.
She said that although neither she or her spouse witnessed the act “the emotional trauma of that robbery stays with us today”.
“My husband was unable to sleep at home for about three weeks,” she said, explaining that the couple had to employ 24-hour security.
Teresa Michael also revealed that she had to consult a psychiatrist while overseas.
She also disclosed that some of the stolen jewellery had been passed down through three generations of family, and of the over 100 pieces that were taken, only about 11 items were recovered.
After hearing the victim’s statement, Thomas opted to say a few words.
In a contrite tone he said, “I am really and truly sorry for the emotional trauma you and your family are experiencing.
“My mother didn’t raise me certain ways,” he said, blaming bad company for his propensity for crime.
“If I had one single wish, I would say I would never, ever, ever go anywhere that day because crime really doesn’t pay,” he continued.
Lloyd then approached the mic’ sharing his remorse.
“It wasn’t worth it. I feel it for real Miss…I will do whatever it takes,” he said, pleading for a second chance.
The engineer behind the home invasion, Whyte-Challenger, also shared similar sentiments when it was her turn to speak.
“I don’t think that anything I can say can fix the trauma you feel. You instilled trust in me and I did not deserve it,” she remarked.
The trio’s contrition afforded them a fraction off of their sentence, alongside other mitigating factors such as the fact that they are all parents to minor children.
In they end they were each sentenced to 14 years behind bars but the three years they have already spent in prison will be deducted.
The maximum for such a crime is 35 years but the judge began at a starting point of 21 years.
Meanwhile, three other persons — Ian O’Brien, Vernon Braithwaite and Ivlaw John — are awaiting trial in relation to the same incident.
They were charged with receiving stolen goods, knowing that they were the proceeds of a crime.
It is said that Lloyd gave his share of the jewellery to a female friend and that, on May 13 2019, she and Lloyd went to a jewellery store where she sold a gold chain to John.
The next day, Braithwaite allegedly sold more of the stolen jewellery.
It is also believed that, in June 2019, Thomas took a necklace to a jewellery store where O’Brien agreed to pay for the item.