2 jailed for life over clothes vendor’s murder

Confessed killers: Selwin Dawson and Kevin Persaud

Two men, both age 21, were on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 15 years for fatally shooting a clothes vendor back in 2017 during a robbery at Craig, East Bank Demerara. Selwin Dawson called “Crack Skull” and Kevin Persaud called “Boyce” were initially indicted for the December 20, 2017 murder of 40-year-old Purcell Moore.
When their trial continued on Monday before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the Demerara High Court, the duo opted to plead guilty to manslaughter. As such, the trial Judge directed the 12-member jury to return formal guilty verdicts for the men on the lesser count.

Murder accused: Wayne Chester

Moore, a father of two, was shot dead a short distance from his parents’ Old Road, Craig home by three men who relieved him of his gold chain. At the time of his demise, Moore had arrived in Guyana two weeks prior from French Guiana to celebrate the Christmas season with his family.
During a sentencing hearing, Justice Kissoon said that Moore worked hard in Cayenne, and then came home for the Christmas season to spend time with his family as is the custom among Guyanese. The Judge said that the man was wearing his jewellery thinking that he was in a safe place.
However, referring to Dawson and Persaud, Justice Kissoon noted, “The young, strong able-bodied men conspired together and agreed to deprive [Moore] of his jewellery.” From the evidence, the Judge said that Persaud and Dawson pounced on an unarmed man who had refused to part with his possessions.

“Preying on innocent citizens”
While he underscored that the killers’ age was a significant factor that gives rise to the inference of them being good candidates for rehabilitation, Justice Kissoon pointed out that the aggravating factors also had to be considered by the court in determining an appropriate sentence.

Dead: Purcell Moore

For one, he noted that Moore was shot dead during a violent robbery. According to the Judge, injuries were inflicted to the vulnerable parts of the now dead man’s body. Moore was shot twice – once to the left side chest and also to his head. “Youths with unlicensed guns…are now preying on innocent citizens.”
“A family that was preparing to celebrate Christmas was left to confront grief, death, and the loss of a loved one,” Justice Kissoon added. According to him, citizens must feel free to carry on with their lives without the fear of being robbed or attacked.
“This callous crime and course of conduct displayed by [Persaud and Dawson] must be addressed. Members of society ought to be free to move about …. whether in the precinct of the business community in downtown Georgetown, in their neighbourhood, or their home…”
Considering this, he noted that the sentence of the court must not only fit the dastardly acted committed by the duo, but also serve as a deterrent to like-minded offenders.

Meanwhile, Moore’s mother Gloria described her son as a very good man. “…He was very good to me even to the people in the village. If anybody asked him for anything he would give it to them. He used to assist me, in many many ways. He used to go and do shopping for me. I do surely miss him.”
“There is not a day in my life that I do not take his picture and look at it. It really broke my spirit and my heart because I never expected this would be the end of his life. I hope the court would give them a life sentence because he has smaller children…I am very heartbroken,” the woman said as she cried.

“I am sorry”
Persaud, in a short statement to the court, said, “I am sorry for the wrong things we did. And forgive us for the wrong things.” Dawson, on the other hand, had this to say, “I am very sorry for my mistake and sinful act. I am asking for forgiveness and for the court to please have mercy on us and be lenient on us.”
Their lawyers Adrian Thompson and Damien DaSilva, during a plea in mitigation, begged the Judge to temper justice with mercy. The lawyers alluded to their clients’ youthfulness. They told the court that their clients are extremely remorseful – a factor that influenced their early guilty pleas.
For her part, Prosecutor Lisa Cave urged Justice Kissoon to impose a sentence that reflects the serious nature and prevalence of felony murder. “Over the years, there has been an increase in gun violence…,” she noted, adding that the sentence must send a strong message that such crimes will not be tolerated.
Another man, Wayne Anthony Chester, called “Sharky”, is currently on remand awaiting trial at the Demerara High Court for Moore’s murder. (G1)