75 years jail for La Grange man who murdered Brazilian gold miner
A 31-year-old boat captain was on Wednesday sentenced to 75 years imprisonment for the murder of Brazilian miner, Braz Alves Dos Santos, who was killed during a robbery in 2015 at his Puruni, Mazaruni mining camp.
Oneal Griffith, formerly of La Grange, West Bank Demerara, was sentenced by Justice Navindra Singh at the Essequibo High Court, after a jury found him guilty of the charge, which alleged that on December 30, 2015, he murdered Dos Santos.
The State was represented by prosecutor Tiffani Lyken while Griffith was represented by attorney-at-law, Ravindra Mohabir.
After listening to the verdict, Griffith addressed the court and said: “I’m an innocent man. The State put a case against me that I know nothing about.”
Attorney Mohabir, in his plea of mitigation before sentencing, begged the court to temper justice with mercy since his client is a first-time offender. The attorney also asked the court to consider that Griffith is married and is also the father of two children.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Lyken asked the court to consider that a weapon was used during the commission of the offence and that the victim’s life was snuffed out by Griffith, who showed no remorse for his actions.
Justice Singh, after considering the nature of the case, sentenced Griffith to serve 75 years imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving 50 years. He also ordered that the prison authorities deduct the time Griffith spent in pre-trial custody from the sentence.
According to police reports, on the day in question, Dos Santos was working at a mining camp when Griffith held him and another Brazilian national at gunpoint. It was reported that a scuffle ensued, during which, Dos Santos was shot to the neck.
After the incident, Griffith allegedly escaped with a quantity of raw gold, a boat and an engine. However, he was held at Itabali, where the stolen vessel and some of the gold were recovered. It was reported that he disposed of the firearm and was positively identified by an eyewitness.