Archive for October 6th, 2011

15 yrs jail for AEC alumnus

| 06/10/2011 | 57 Comments

(CNS): A former student from the now notorious Alternative Education Centre has been jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of an attempted contract killing. Carlney Campbell was only 18 when he tried to kill José Morales in an elevator at the Treasure Island Resort on West Bay Road disguised as a police officer. The teenage Campbell succeeded in stabbing Morales, who the prosecution said was the wrong man, in the head but his victim who was trained in martial arts survived to tell the tale. In his ruling on Friday Justice Alex Henderson described Campbell’s troubled past and said he believed there was a strong possibility that he would re-offend as he handed down the decade and a half long prison term.

During the sentencing hearing the judge described how Campbell had tried to trick Morales by dressing up in blue police overalls, which aggravated the crime, but his young age at the time of the offence was a mitigating factor. Taking into consideration the circumstances of the attempted murder and the sentencing guidelines in relation to this type of offence, as well as local precedent of his own previous decisions that remain unchallenged by the Court of Appeal, Justice Henderson handed down the sentence to Campbell, who is now 20 years old, with time served to be taken into consideration.

During the trial Campbell had presented a defence of mistaken identity but it appears that the real mistake in identity was that of the victim, since Morales swore under oath that he had no idea why he was attacked and the crown presumed it was a case of mistaken identity. The police were unable to ascertain who the real intended victim had been.

On 26 May 2009 at around 5pm Morales was waiting for the elevator at Treasure Island resort where he lived. What he believed was a police officer in blue overalls walked past him as the elevator arrived and Morales got in the lift. After closing, the door re-opened and the police officer, who was in fact Campbell, walked in. Morales tried to walk out but Campbell told him that he should get back in and, thinking he was a real police officer, the victim asked if there was a problem. Campbell forced Morales to turn around and face the wall as the elevator door closed Campbelltried to tie Morales' hands behind his back with plastic string and produced a knife which he put in to his back.

As Morales was young, physically fit and trained in martial arts he was able to turn suddenly and grab the knife by the blade, hit Campbell with his right elbow and knock him off balance. As they struggled Morales overpowered Campbell and held the knife to his throat, which is when Campbell told him, "I'm sorry, man, somebody paid me to do it."

Morales asked who paid him but got no answer and instead Campbell bit him on the arm forcing him to release his grip on the knife, at which point Campbell stabbed Morales in the head. Morales threw some punches but sustained a further stab wound near his ear. Eventually, Campbell dropped the knife and fled before Morales called 911 for help.

The jury found Campbell guilty of the crime and that he had intended to kill Morales and had been paid to do it.

Campbell, who is now 20 years of age but was only 18 at the time of the crime, is Caymanian and comes from a troubled background. A social enquiry report revealed that he suffered abuse at the hands of his father as a young child, with whom he lived in the US for some time before he returned to Cayman. He was expelled from John Gray and sent to the Alternative Education programme and was already in trouble with the law by the time he was 15 and has a previous conviction for burglary.

As Justice Henderson arrived at his sentence, he pointed out that this case fell into the category of a planned attempt on the victim, which he described as “rather elaborate”, and while not the most serious of attempted murders, it was aggravated by Campbell’s attempt to impersonate a police officer to put his victim off guard as he attacked him while being paid to do so.

The judge also commended the police in this particular case, pointing out that there had been a lot of criticism expressed in the press recently regarding investigations and evidence gathering. “In this case the police did an admirable job of gathering the evidence and putting the case together. I think it is appropriate for the court to recognise that,” the judge added.

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