Man handed two life sentences for ‘cold, calculated and brutal’ 2015 murders
Orpheus Johnson was on Monday handed two life sentences for killing two men in 2015, along with the attempted murder of a woman and her 18-month-old son, which also occurred in 2015.
Johnson, formerly of Second Street, Craig Village, East Bank Demerara (EBD), was sentenced by Justice Sandi Kissoon at the Georgetown High Court.
Last month, he was indicted with two counts of murder but opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. He admitted that on April 22, 2015, at Agricola, East Bank Demerara (E.B.D) he unlawfully killed Gladstone George.
On the day in question, 32-year-old George of Agricola was a passenger in a minibus; when the bus stopped at Agricola, Johnson came up to the window and discharged two rounds at him.
George was pronounced dead at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Johnson also admitted that on June 21, 2015, he unlawfully killed Travis Rudder at Republic Park, E.B.D. He also admitted that on the same day and location, he discharged a loaded firearm at Rudder’s reputed wife, Mawanza Gill and their then 18-month-old son, Jaleel Rudder, with the intent to commit murder.
According to reports, 26-year-old Rudder was killed in his bed after Johnson pumped 21 bullets into his body through a bedroom window.
The mother of Rudder’s child, who was residing with him, was shot seven times, with four bullets hitting her in one leg and another three in the other leg.
The couple’s 18 month-old baby was injured in the shooting, receiving five bullets about his body. On Monday, a probation report was read in court, which stated that Johnson came from a dysfunctional family and had no positive role model in his life.
Rudder’s reputed wife broke down in tears while giving a statement in court. She explained that she still has flashbacks of the incident while her son, despite undergoing numerous surgeries, still has a warhead lodged in his body.
“You’re heartless… why would you want to do this to us?” the grieving woman asked Johnson in court.
Meanwhile, Johnson’s attorney, Rachael Bakker, asked the court to temper justice with mercy but State Prosecutor, Lisa Cave, asked the court to consider the nature and gravity of the charge along with the aggravating factors.
Justice Kissoon said that the murder of Rudder was “cold, calculated and brutal” without consideration for those who might have been at home at that time.
The judge also highlighted Johnson’s plethora of criminal activities and prior convictions for robbery and the use of personal violence. The judge noted that from serving time behind bars, rehabilitation failed for Johnson and upon his release each time, he would return to his life of crime.
Justice Kissoon sentenced Johnson to serve two life imprisonment for killing George and Rudder and he will become eligible for parole after serving 30 years. Johnson was further sentenced to 20 years on each of the attempted murder charges.
The sentencing will run concurrently, and the prison authorities were ordered to deduct the time Johnson spent on remand from his sentence.