Days after the brutal murder of an Indigenous village leader in the community of Kurutuku, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), his son-in-law, who is accused of committing the act, was on Wednesday slapped with a murder charge and arraigned before the courts for the capital offence of murder.
Murder accused Addison Benjamin stood before Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus, who read the indictable charge which stated that on January 1, 2019 at
Kurutuku, he killed Solomon Lewis.
The 27-year-old man, of Lima, Essequibo Coast, was represented by Attorney Dexter Todd, who informed that his client acted in self-defence after he was physically abused by the now deceased man, his son and other men in the community.
Police Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield informed the court that the dead Toshao and Benjamin were involved in a heated argument over the abuse of Lewis’s daughter.
It was further stated that the accused armed himself with a cutlass and dealt the now deceased man a severe chop to the neck, after which he inflicted grievous wounds on Lewis’s son, Marvin Lewis.
Benjamin was later arrested and charged, Prosecutor Mansfield said, adding that more charges were expected to be brought against the accused. Benjamin was remanded to prison with the case expected to continue on January 28, 2018.
Guyana Times had previously reported that the community in the Cuyuni River, was sent into a state of shock on New Year’s Day when the Toshao was beheaded by his son-in-law after he intervened in a domestic dispute.
Reports are the incident occurred about 04:00h on January 1. This publication was
told that Toshao Lewis and his son attempted to stop his son-in-law from beating his daughter. Annoyed at the two men’s intervention, the suspect allegedly armed himself with a cutlass and reportedly dealt several chops to his father-in-law, severing his head in the process.
He then reportedly turned his attention to his brother-in-law, dealing him several chops also which reportedly severed one of the man’s hands. Following the incident, the suspect fled the scene in a boat.
The team of law enforcement officers who were dispatched to the area to probe the murder arrested the suspect on January 3, 2019.
When contacted, former National Toshaos Council President Joel Fredericks related that security has been a concern of many village leaders from riverine and hinterland communities. In some cases, villages are vulnerable to attacks because some homes are isolated from the community proper.