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Twely Guilty of Ariel Bolah’s Murder

8-year-old Ariel Bolah – was tortured and murdered approximately 1-month before her 9th birthday

Guilty as charged.

That was the unanimous verdict handed down on 19-year-old Twely Joseph of Frequente, St. George for the offence of Capital Murder in connection with the brutal November 2017 killing of 8-year-old Ariel Bolah of the same village.

The case for the State was led by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Christopher Nelson who labeled it as the worst he has ever prosecuted in his career spanning over 35 years.

“This case, in my experience, has been the worst I have seen,” DPP Christopher Nelson, QC, told reporters in an interview shortly after the verdict was delivered just before 5.00 p.m. Tuesday by a 12-member jury before female high court judge, Justice Paula Gilford at the St. George’s No. 1 High Court.

“It (involves) a little child, eight years, who was not just brutally raped but killed in the most …extremely violent (manner) and she would have suffered and suffered immensely before she died. I don’t think no one would want to wish such a death on any human being, even an animal,” he said.

According to the DPP, the nature of the crime committed against the young girl “speaks something out of a horror movie.”

It was the Crown case that the fourth grade student was ferociously raped by forced penetration and murdered by her assailant in an incident that is believed to have occurred between November 10-12, 2017 approximately 1-month before she was due to celebrate her 9th birthday on December 11, 2017.

The Prosecution set about to convince the jury panel that Joseph killed the young girl to silence her because he knew she would talk about what had happened to her.

Ariel was found lying naked on the ground in a bushy area a few minutes away from her home in Frequente, St. George, around 11 a.m. on November 11, 2017, with a belt tightly strapped around her neck and a piece of wood, similar to a mop or broom stick, stuck inside her mouth.

Her clothing was recovered within close proximity from the area, where her body was recovered.

According to the evidence presented in court during the almost 3-week long trial, several teeth were also missing from her lower jaw and she had multiple bruises to her face, ear, back and buttocks, including lacerations measuring 2cm and a 2×1cm stab wound to her left cheek.

The autopsy report said she died as a result of asphyxiation, post-trauma and sexual assault.

A Cuban pathologist who was one of 13 witnesses called by the state said that Ariel was still alive when the wounds were inflicted on her body.

“This is an extremely sad case, a very tragic case,” DPP Nelson told reporters, noting that while “a young man’s life is in limbo, a little girl’s life came to a tragic and painful end.

“And I think it was clear in the court during the trial that the mother and stepfather are yet to overcome this tragic loss (and) I think they will never overcome it, even within a lifetime,” he remarked.

The Queen’s Counsel expressed the view that the jury’s guilty verdict was “consistent with the evidence,” stating that he “would have been very surprised if it (the verdict) was otherwise.”

Twely Joseph – was convicted of Capital Murder on Tuesday

Twely, who was only 17 years old at the time of the murder was represented by Attorneys-at-Law, George Prime and Sherrine Francis-Hackett, whose defense was built based on evidence provided by the accused in his ‘record of interview’ and ‘caution statement’ to the police.

He reportedly told police investigators that he did have sexual intercourse with the 8-year-old girl but alleged that she was the one who wanted to have sex with him.

The 19-year-old appeared emotionless as the guilty verdict was announced in court by the foreman of the jury which had deliberated on the evidence in the case for close to three hours before emerging from the room.

Twely denied killing the young girl and pointed fingers at his now deceased uncle, Steve Marcelle, who he alleged had confessed to killing the 8-year-old girl during a one-on-one conversation.

At the time of Ariel’s murder, the uncle, also known as Jah Love, also had a rape case pending in court.

Marcelle had testified for the crown during the preliminary stages of the case at the St. George’s Magistrate’s Court but met his unfortunate death in June 2018 when he was buried alive by fallen rocks and gravel on a quarry at Darbeau, St. George while illegally removing gravel from a site that has been condemned years ago due to a similar incident.

According to defense attorney Prime, the “substance of this defense is to say that it was not him, he was not the perpetrator…”.

“To say the jury did not buy into my arguments is not the issue. Our contention had to do with what came from the questions and answers as well as the caution statement,” he said.

Attorney Prime did not question the jury’s verdict but indicated that “whatever disagreements or whatever we feel may have gone wrong during the trial, we will seek to ventilate it at another forum.”

The seasoned criminal defense attorney did not confirm whether or not there would be an appeal in the matter but did say that “these are matters, which must be discussed with the young murder convict, going forward”.

“I see very little room for an appeal but in murder cases there are sometimes things that we don’t see (right away). So the issue of appeal is to be determined at the appropriate time,” Attorney Prime said.

In handing out directives to the jurors before sending them out to deliberate on the evidence presented in the case, Justice Gilford urged the members of the panel to “use common sense to access the credibility of the witnesses” in determining the verdict.

The mother and step father of the deceased girl, who attended the court session did not wish to speak with members of the media and quietly walked out of the court room after the verdict was handed down.

Although he was convicted of Capital Murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death by hanging, the law provides that the death penalty cannot be handed down to someone who was a juvenile at the date of commission of the offence.

As such, it is in the discretion of the judge when sentencing is to be administered to hand down a sentence of anything short of death with the maximum penalty that can be handed down being life imprisonment.

Twely, who was accompanied in court by his father, will know his fate on January 31, when he is scheduled to be sentenced for causing the death of the 8-year-old.

The sentencing judge ordered that the teenager undergo two psychiatric evaluations to be conducted by different mental health experts to access his mental health status, which will assist the court in designing the sentence that will be handed down.

Justice Gilford instructed that the psychiatric reports and the social inquiry be filed and served by January 10, while the prosecution and defense teams have up to January 20 to file and serve their submissions.

Twely was also indicted on a separate rape charge in connection with the same incident that led to the death of the school girl in a matter that is currently pending before the High Court.

DPP Nelson gave assurances that this matter will be given consideration “in due course.”

 

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