Trial of convict accused of killing fellow inmate ends in hung jury
The trial of robbery convict Akeem Edwards, who is accused of killing his fellow prison inmate ended on Monday with a hung jury. Edwards was on trial for the capital offence before Justice Navindra Singh and a 12-member jury at the High Court in Essequibo.
It is alleged that on September 14, 2014, in the county of Essequibo, Edwards murdered 21-year-old Teon Smith. Following deliberations, the jury was unable to arrive at a unanimous verdict which is required for murder. Instead, the jury was split – 11 guilty to one not guilty.
In the circumstances, Edwards was further remanded to prison pending another trial at the next practicable session of the Essequibo Criminal Assizes. After he was arraigned before the Judge, Edwards, who was represented by Attorney-at-Law George Thomas, had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
State Counsel Tiffini Lyken appeared for the prosecution. During the trial, the prosecution called 12 witnesses, the majority of whom were prison officers.
According to reports, Smith was stabbed to death by Edwards during an argument at the Mazaruni Penitentiary. It was reported that the incident escalated when Smith went to retrieve a cell phone from a known hiding spot but could not find it.
Smith then accused Edwards of removing the phone. It was reported that during the lunch break at the penitentiary, Edwards armed himself with a knife and dealt Smith several stabs about his body. The injured inmate was rushed to the Bartica Regional Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.
At the time of his demise, Smith was serving a five-year prison sentence for armed robbery. His alleged killer is also serving a similar sentence for the same offence.