Death by poisoning: Mother who killed her 2 children appeals 98-year jail term

The Court of Appeal is set to hear the appeal filed by Hofosuwa Rutherford, who was convicted in 2018 of unlawfully killing her two young children by feeding them rat poison. The three-Judge bench led by Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards will begin hearing the woman’s appeal against her convictions and 98-year jail sentence on March 29.
Rutherford was found unanimously guilty of two counts of manslaughter over the death of her children following a trial before Justice Navindra Singh and a jury at the High Court in Demerara.
On the first count, for the killing of four-year-old Hodascia Cadogan, Rutherford was sentenced to 45 years in jail; while on the second count, for the killing of one-year-old Jabari Cadogan, she was ordered to serve 53 years in prison. The prison terms were ordered to be served consecutively, meaning that her cumulative sentence is 98 years.
The State had adduced evidence that the mother had given each of her children half of a tablet of aluminium phosphide (rat poison) on March 27, 2014, at Supply Branch Road, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara (ECD) where they all resided. During her trial, Rutherford’s initial story was that she had bought cold tablets from a man at the Plaisance bus park in Georgetown, who sells rat poison. However, the logic behind this story was not accepted by the jury.
Rutherford had been hospitalised for seven days after the poisoning of her offspring, and she had said she had drunk two rat poison tablets after giving same to her children.
“No one in this world loves my children more than I do. I love them to my soul. I am sorry for my shortcomings and my faults,” the convicted children killer had stated at her sentencing hearing.
She had then turned her attention to Justice Singh, who she begged to have mercy on her.
“Justice Singh, even God in Heaven above is merciful, and I am asking you to grant me a second chance so I can make things right,” a crying Rutherford had pleaded.
Meanwhile, Justice Singh had seemed perplexed as to why the State had indicted the mother for the lesser offence of manslaughter, contending that “everything points to murder”. (G1)