Four (4) years after the brutal killing of 16-year-old schoolgirl Queenette Johnson, Epping Forest, St. David resident 24-year old Randy John will finally know his fate on Monday (October 31) when the jury is expected to hand down a verdict in the Capital Murder case brought against him in October 2018.
The matter is before Guyanese-born female High Court Judge Madam Justice Paula Gilford, who is expected to sum up the case, and instruct the 12-member jury panel to deliberate on a verdict to bring an end to the approximately 2-week Capital Murder trial at the St. George’s No 1 High Court.
The state’s case against the murder accused is mainly supported by circumstantial evidence, as led by Senior Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Jamaican-born Howard Pinnock.
A total of ten (10) witnesses gave evidence for the Crown in an effort to convince the jury that the young girl, who was reportedly last seen on October 18, 2018, when she left home to visit relatives in Springs following a dispute with her sister was killed during the commission of a sexual offense, in that John either raped her or in trying to do so, ended up killing her in the process.
The autopsy report revealed that the 16-year-old girl was strangled to death sometime between October 19-20 2018.
John was arrested, and formally slapped with a Non-Capital Murder charge in connection with the teenager’s death four (4) days after the body was found half naked, and in an advanced decomposed state, with her face beyond recognition, and several missing teeth underneath a house in Charlotte Vale, St. David, six (6) days after she went missing.
Against the backdrop that a sexual offense occurred, the charge was elevated from Non-Capital Murder, which carries a maximum life sentence, to Capital Murder, which carries a maximum penalty of death by hanging.
According to a well-placed source, John, who was a 20-year-old construction worker at the time of the fatal incident, along with the now-deceased teenager, was observed walking toward the direction where her body was discovered.
American-trained Attorney-at-Law Jerry Edwin is providing defense counsel for the murder accused, who although admitting that he was with Queenette the night of her death, maintains his innocence.
This is the second Capital Murder case involving the death of a teenage girl to go before Justice Gilford this year.
In August, the female high court judge handed down a life sentence on 50-year-old Demlyn ‘Dumpling’ Murray on a Capital Murder charge in connection with the March 2016 death of his 15-year-old sister-in-law Brittney Baptiste, who at the time of her death had brought allegations of rape against him in a matter that was before the court.
In July 2020, Justice Gilford imposed a 30-year and 5-month sentence on 19-year-old Frequente teenager, Twely Joseph for the November 2017 brutal death of 8-year-old Ariel Bhola, days before her ninth birthday.
Sexual crimes against the under-aged have been a scourge in Grenadian society, and have in recent years dominated the list of matters coming up for adjudication before the St. George’s High Court.