La Grange farmer confesses to burning body of fruit thief

…reportedly admits to placing electricity rod on farm fence to ward off thieves

A La Grange, West Bank Demerara (WBD) farmer on Monday confessed to burning and burying the body of a suspected fruit thief who was electrocuted on his farm back in November 2023.

Dead: Shakeel John

The dead man has been identified as 22-year-old Shakeel John also called ‘Botha’ of Lot 44 Inner Bagotville, West Bank Demerara (WBD).
Based on reports received, on Sunday last, a teenager of Inner Bagotville WBD visited the La Grange Police Station and reported that in November 2023, he and two others including John colluded to go and steal citrus fruits from a farm in Cone shop Street La Grange WBD.
He stated that as they approached the first farm, they were confronted by the owner, who chased them with a cutlass. They did not stop there; they instead went to a second farm and upon scaling a mesh fence, they heard John scream out “ahh”.
At that time, they realized that he was being shocked by some sort of electricity on the fence. As a result, he and his accomplice took a piece of wood and attempted to remove John from the fence but in the process, he too received shock to his foot.
Attempts to remove Johns proved futile and as such, they hid behind a mango tree until the next morning.

Home of Shakeel John

However, as the place began to get bright, they saw the owner of the farm picking fruits and stumbled upon Johns’ body that was lying on the ground.
“He walked out back to the front and returned with a sheet in his hands, wrapped up Shaquille and dragged him more into the farm and disappeared,” the young man told detectives.
Upon seeing this, the two young men waited a while but as they were heading out of the farm, his accomplice reportedly threatened to kill him if he reported the matter.
Upon receiving this information on Monday, a team of police along with the teenager went to the farm where they contacted the owner, a 59-year-old man of Unity Street La Grange, WBD.
The teen then took the ranks to the area where John was electrocuted. Whilst there, the farmer admitted that he had demolished his old fence and erected a new fence with barbed wire. The was nevertheless taken into custody.
On Monday, the teenager was interviewed by members of the Child Care and Protection Agency at De Willem, West Coast Demerara (WCD) during which he related the exact story he told the police.
Human bones
Later in the day, police acting on information received revisited the farm where they discovered human bones in a clump of bushes suspected to be that of John.
They proceeded to the home of the farmer where they observed an electrical cable strapped to a coconut tree in the front of his yard.
Further, they observed metal wire on the fence running in a manner that would facilitate the flow of a negative and a positive independent electrical line.
In addition, they stumbled upon an area that appeared to be a fire heap which contained pieces of burnt tyres. Upon closer inspection, they discovered several human bones, including a human skull.
Police stated that the skull had what appeared to be fire damage, and the bones were scattered across the fire heap, with some bones of the limbs being scattered more than 40 feet of the fire heap.
Additionally, pieces of burnt denim jeans and a piece of male underwear were discovered.

Meanwhile, during interrogation, the farmer allegedly confessed that he had placed electricity rod on his fence to ward off thieves who would constantly invade his property.
He reportedly told investigations, “Sometime late November last year because I come home one afternoon from wuk and see one a den hook up once fence like he get electrocute. I tek he off and I recognize is Buta… I drag he pon de next land and I use some tire fuh burn he, I tell you de truth I didn’t kill this man he done dead.”
The farmer remains in custody and is expected to be charged shortly.
Mother thought son was interior
Meanwhile, a visit to the victim’s home by Guyana Times revealed conflicting details from the victim’s mother, Sharon Jones. She claimed to have last seen her son on December 5th last year, not November, mentioning he left to meet friends and never returned.
“Me and Shakeel were in Bell West because we are building a house there. He was there with me doing some work. At about 6:00h we left and came home and his friends came and called him out of the house and that was the last time I saw him. I couldn’t call him because he didn’t have a phone. I woke up the next morning, peeped in his room, and didn’t see him, so I called his friend that he left with his mother and she told me that her son didn’t come home too”, she said.
The woman said she left for work and when she returned home on the night of December 6, she was told by her older son that one of John’s friends said that he had gone with another friend and a female to Linden.
“My older son told me that someone told him that Shakeel, Timothy [his accomplice], and an Indian girl had gone to Linden to go to the bush since they would usually travel to the bush for work. So, I figured they had gone to the bush for the new year”, she said.
The woman said she never reported her son’s disappearance, as he often ventured into the interior for extended periods, but this time, he didn’t call.
“I know whenever he goes to the bush my son would always call me and let me know and he wouldn’t spend more than three weeks. I continued to call his friend Timothy’s [ the friend he left with] mother and she kept telling me the same thing that she not hearing from Timothy… I feel that she already knew what was going on but she was hiding it from me”, the dead man’s mother said.
One month later, the woman said someone told her that they heard rumors on the street that her son was dead but she did not believe it because she felt that her son was working in the interior.
“On the 14th of last month (January) one of them (the 3rd boy) who was with him [her son] showed up and my older son asked him where is Shakeel and the boy said he doesn’t know…my son asked him twice and both times he said he doesn’t know and he said that they ‘buss up’ since that day. Another day we saw the same boy and asked him again about Shakeel and if they hadn’t left to go in the bush and the boy said no and then is when we realized the boy’s story was mixed up, so we didn’t believe what he was saying. One time he was saying his uncle took them to the bush then he said they went to Linden”, the woman explained.
Jones said on Sunday while standing on the road waiting for transportation to go to work, a resident of the community reportedly pulled up alongside her in a car and told her has some time that he would like to share with her.
“He said he wanted to talk, and that’s when the boy told me that he heard rumors on the road that Shakeel and Timothy got shocked up and Shakeel dead… I said to him no that can’t be true because I know they went to Linden. And it was the same talk all over the village. However, when I didn’t hear from my son, I prayed every day that God would bring home Shakeel safe wherever he was or show me some vision’’, she said.
“The same boy [the resident] came back to me and played a voice note with someone saying that my son got shocked and he died. I then went inside and started studying everything but mostly why my son ain’t calling me because he doesn’t stay away so long and doesn’t call. The same day the boy that told me about the voice note came back and told me that the police had caught Keron [John’s friend] and he confessed and it was then I really believed… and I started hollering”.
When asked why her son was on the farm, the woman said: “I can’t say why, but it doesn’t have a fence; it’s a walkway for anyone, maybe he was just walking or something. I don’t know and can’t say.
“I feel really messed up. It was my last son and he gone with a piece of my heart. I’m really feeling it and every day I’m crying. Some nights I can’t sleep. What I couldn’t get my other sons to do I could have gotten him to do and that’s why I am feeling it and I miss my son”, the tearful mother said.
“I don’t want to say anything to him I just want justice, is not a dog or a pig he killed it is a human being. My son might have even been alive before he buried him”.
Meanwhile, one of John’s close friends Warren Jackson, said that he believed that the farmer attempted to kill his friend. He said that it is normal for persons in the community to pass by the farm and pick fruits because it is an open area. He said that the farmer knew John and knew that he was one of many to pick fruits from the farm.
“This is premeditated murder. My friend wasn’t a big thief as everyone is making it sound. He picked fruits from farms like all of us in the community… this man is trying to justify his actions by saying this man does molest him. If he was molesting you, why didn’t you go to the station? Why did you move his body off of the scene? Why did you bury him and burn him? This means you didn’t want anybody to know what was going on and we don’t know how many more missing persons you might have killed”, he said.
“All the time we were asking for our friend and we though he was in the bush, not knowing this man was dead all the time. That man needs to go to jail and he cannot get off from this because this is murder and he did it intentionally”.