Shooting victims’ mother says ‘Burga’ needs more than death penalty

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The pain could be heard in the voice of Ineta Liburd — the mother of murder victim Tahisha Thomas and shooting victim Lawrence James – as she lamented that the 2018 homicide which has taken an emotional toll on her over since the incident.

On Friday, Liburd’s brother, Calvin ‘Burga’ James, pleaded guilty to killing his niece Tahisha and his nephew’s girlfriend, Sanchezca Charles in cold blood, as well as shooting his nephew, Lawrence James, who survived.

Liburd told OBSERVER media that no amount of jail time would be enough.

“Whatever sentence dem give him that not gonna ever bring back my daughter. Not gonna ever bring her back. Never! And if we have to get justice it’s still not going to make me satisfied because I cannot see my daughter anymore,” she exclaimed.

She was adamant that the death penalty would have been the appropriate penalty.

Liburd said: “He needs more than a death penalty. This man just in prison eating and my child gone. My child don’t even see nothing yet…and this man just take her life just like that for nothing. They need to give this man the death penalty because the man done premeditate that he’s going to wipe out me and my children and them.”

The woman broke into tears as she stated that “as long as this man alive and he get out of that place we will have to go [into] hiding again.”

Last week, after the 57-year-old admitted to the crime, the prosecution gave thought to the death penalty but noted the tight noose placed on that form of punishment years ago.

They concluded that shooting family members at close range did not classify as “the most extreme and exceptional,”; “worst of the worst”; or “rarest of the rare” based on the precedent set in Daniel Dick Trimmingham v The State, a 2007 decision from St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In the Trimmingham case, the appellant held a man at gunpoint and demanded money and because he had no money, the appellant threw the man into a ditch and used a cutlass to cut his throat.

Similarly, the local case of the Mullanys, two British nationals who were fatally shot in their honeymoon cottage in the Coco’s Hotel in 2008, was not classified as an “undeniably bad case”.

This month marks 29 years since someone has been put to death by hanging in Antigua and Barbuda.

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