Duo gets 10 years sentence for 2016 murder of Professor Mars
Two young men were on Wednesday sentenced to serve 10 years imprisonment for the murder of 75-year-old retired professor Pairaudeau ‘Perry’ Mars in 2016.
The sentence was handed down by Justice Sandil Kissoon.
Paul Chance, 23, and Andre Benjamin, 22, were initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter last month.
The duo admitted to being a part of a gang of teens, who robbed and killed Mars in his Bissessar Avenue, Prashad Nagar home on May 12, 2016.
His lifeless body was found with his hands and feet duct-taped and with injuries to the head.
A post-mortem performed on Mars revealed that he died from manual strangulation compounded by multiple fractures to the head and face.
During Chance and Benjamin’s sentencing hearing on Wednesday, their probation report was read in court by a social worker.
During an interview with the officer, Chance said that he was led astray by his then-girlfriend and only went to the Professor’s home to protect her.
Meanwhile, Benjamin told the officer that he was pressured by his friends and regretted that decision.
Benjamin, during his address to the court, said, “I am aware that nothing I say here can ease the pain to the family of Mr. Mars for the loss of your loved one.
“Nothing I say or do can bring back Mr. Mars. In fact, nothing I say here or do can even come close to saying how sorry I am, how regretful I am and ashamed. I’m deeply remorseful and sorry about this whole situation,” he added.
Justice Kissoon relied on the sentencing guidelines set out in the Juvenile Justice Act and noted that the convicts were “children” when they carried out the brutal crime.
He pointed out that both accused had an unblemished record with no prior offenses.
Additionally, their probation report highlighted their progress in prison to reform themselves and be reintegrated into society when afforded that opportunity.
Among other things, Justice Kissoon said that the defendant’s mitigating factors far outweigh any aggravating factors of the case.
He added that while the court “cannot turn a blind eye” to the hurt the victim’s family has been made to endure, the mastermind and the individual who inflicted the fatal blow have admitted to their actions and are currently serving 12 years behind bars.
Taking all the aforementioned into consideration, Justice Kissoon sentenced the duo to serve 10 years imprisonment with time spent on remand to be deducted by the prison authorities.
After their release, the pair will be placed on a three-year probation period with strict reporting conditions.
As a condition of his probation, Chance will have to enroll in the Adult Education Association to pursue Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) certifications in no less than five subjects.
Meanwhile, Benjamin will have to enroll at the Guyana Technical Institute or Guyana Industrial Training Center to complete a course in electrical insulation.
A report of Chance and Benjamin’s attendance, performance, and progress is expected to be submitted to Justice Kissoon every three months.
In 2019, their co-accused, Nikisha Dover, Orin McRae, and Naomi Adams, 18, who were initially charged with murder, opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
Dover and McRae were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment while Adams was handed a 10-year sentence by Justice Navindra Singh.