Miner charged for strangling two women and dumping their bodies in pits

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The miner who was charged for the murder of a Venezuelan woman and then dumping her body has also confessed to doing the same thing to another woman previously.

Joshua Connell was on Monday charged for the murder of 28-year-old Rosella Smith whose body was found in an abandoned mining pit at Three Miles Karrau Backdam, Region Seven in May, 2020 and a 28-year-old Venezuelan cook, Dimas Emilia Lezama Fermin, whose body was also found in a mining pit on October 04, 2020.

According to a statement from the Guyana Police Force, Connell was taken into custody at the Bartica Police Station on October 6 where he confessed that he raped Fermin and strangled her to death after she resisted. Connell told investigators that he then threw her body in a pit aback the camp.

Fermin of San Phoenix, Venezuela was at the time working with a dredge owner at ‘Big Hope’ Backdam in Region Seven.

On October 4, police said Connell along with the dredge owner and others left the woman at the camp and proceeded to the landing where they were drinking alcohol at a shop.

Connell however left at about 21:30hrs and told the others that he was going to take a bath.

The following morning at about 06:30hrs, Fermin’s body was discovered floating in a pit behind their camp clad in a blue jersey and without any underwear. There were also multiple marks of violence in the form of hematoma about her body.

A post mortem on October 7 found that the cook died from asphyxiation due to compression injuries to the neck, compounded by multiple blunt trauma.

Connell was also questioned in relation to the death of Bartica businesswoman Rosella Smith whose body was in an abandoned mining pit at Three Miles Karrau Backdam, Region Seven in May 2020.

Dead: Rosella Smith [Photo taken from Kaieteur News]
Smith, who sold groceries in a make-shift camp, was found with blood around her nostrils. A Post mortem later revealed that she had died from Asphyxiation due to Drowning compounded by compression injuries to Neck.

According to the police, Connell confessed that he choked Smith and threw her body in the pit after they had gotten into an argument over some raw gold that she allegedly stole from him.

He appeared at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court via zoom before Magistrate Christel Lambert on Monday where he was charged with two counts of murder, contrary to common law. He was not required to plead to the charges.

Both cases were adjourned to December 17, 2020 for report.

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