Man who killed vagrant jailed for 14 years


Twenty-year-old John McKenzie was on Monday sentenced to 14 years imprisonment after confessing to fatally stabbing a 45-year-old vagrant along Leopold and Lombard Street in 2018.

McKenzie, of Leopold Street, Georgetown was charged with the capital offence of murder, but opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.

His plea was taken by Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Georgetown High Court. McKenzie was charged alongside two juveniles who are currently on remand awaiting trial for the offence.

Attorney-at-Law Mark Conway appeared for McKenzie, while State Counsel Teriq Mohamed and Nafeeza Baig appeared for the Prosecution. McKenzie appeared via zoom from the Camp Street Prison.

He admitted that November 17, 2018, at Leopold and Lombard Streets, Georgetown, he unlawfully killed the victim, who was identified only as ‘Buckman.’

According to reports, on November 17 about 22:45, “Buckman” and the three teens were involved in an argument after he stopped buying drugs from them.

McKenzie allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed the man 13 times before making good his escape. After the stabbing, the 45-year-old man was rushed to the GPHC where he succumbed to his injuries

Before sentencing, a probation report was read in court in favour of McKenzie.

According to the report, McKenzie came from broken and a single-parent home. He was neglected by his father when he was a toddler and by his mother in his teens.

McKenzie was removed from school at age 15 by his mother due to his learning disability.

The probation officer told the court that McKenzie said that he acted in defence of his friends who were being attacked by the deceased.

“I am sorry for breaking the law. I never went to jail or nothing before I am just asking you to be lenient with me. I am just asking for mercy because I did not waste the court’s time,” McKenzie pleaded with the judge.

The Judge took into consideration the following aggravating factors such as the severity of the victim’s injuries and the weapon used during the commission of the crime; she also placed weight on McKenzie early plea and his background.

In the end, McKenzie was sentenced to serve 14 years imprisonment and was also advised by the Judge to use the time behind bars to learn a trade so he can turn over a new leaf upon his release.

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