Guilty plea in Jazzy B death

| 21/09/2009

(CNS): Paul Ricardo Gordon pled guilty to manslaughter this morning, the day his trial over the killing of Sherman Bodden (DJ "Jazzy B”) was scheduled to commence before Chief Justice Anthony Smellie. Gordon faced charges of murder following the fatal stabbing on 9 March this year of the 42-year-old DJ and well known personality at Vibe radio station, but offered a plea of manslaughter. Solicitor General Cheryll Richards accepted the plea to the lesser charge given issues of provocation. Sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday.

According to police reports that were released in the wake of the killing, the stabbing took place during a fight between the two men at an address in Savannah Meadows. Bodden was taken to hospital after police and medics had responded to a call from a woman reporting the incident at a home in Prince Link. A post mortem revealed that Bodden sustained multiple stab wounds.

Bodden who was better known as DJ Jazzy B was a popular on air personality with Vibe Radio Station and knew Paul Gordon, a Jamaican national who worked as a security guard before his arrest.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Anything to report on the sentencing that was to have been done on Wednesday?? Please post if you have it. Thanks

    CNS: It was postponed until today. Wendy will post a report as soon as she can.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get the definitions straight… I found the definitions below (in quotes) on a website. Legal folks, answer something for me, do these definitions mean that if I am in my home and someone comes and attacks me, if in defending myself, the assailant is persistent and it results in their unfortunate demise… I am charged, tried and imprisoned for however long for manslaughter??? No guessers please, only those who know or want to comment on it. It’s just bizarre how unfair that is. At that point it’s either me or them, what should I do, let them kill me?

    "Killing another person is commonly referred to as murder. However, the precise term for the killing of one person by another is homicide. ***Murder is a form of criminal homicide that has a precise legal meaning. Murder is usually defined as the "unlawful killing of another with malice aforethought (or "an abandoned and malignant heart"). Malice aforethought refers to the perpetrator’s intention of doing harm.***

    There are different legal variations of murder,known as degrees. Degrees of murder vary by the gravity (seriousness) of the offense (usually measured by the intent of the perpetrator) and the sentence assigned to that offense. For example, murder in the first degree, or first-degree murder, carries the sternest sentences and is usually reserved for murders committed with premeditation or extreme cruelty.

    Manslaughter is also a form of criminal homicide. The difference between murder and manslaughter is in the element of intent. In order to commit voluntary manslaughter, a person must have committed a homicide, but have acted in the "heat of passion." This mental state must have been caused by legally sufficient provocation that would cause a reasonable person of ordinary temperament to lose self-control. To convict a person of manslaughter, it must be proved that the person who committed the homicide had adequate provocation (this cannot involve words alone), acted in the heat of passion, and lacked the opportunity to cool that passion. There must also be a connection between the incident of provocation, the heat of passion, and the act that caused the homicide."

    Interesting! So to comment on the person who said that people aren’t being tried for murder any more, it’s solely up to the court (judge, jury, prosecuttion, defence, etc.) to determine that. I’m sure that if the prosecutor could get away with charging for murder, they would reject the manslaughter request from the defence. No?

    • Anonymous says:

      What you have described in your first paragraph could constitute the complete defence of "self-defence" to a charge of murder. It requires that the force used was reasonably proportionate to the threat of harm. For example, it would not apply if someone attacked you with a fly swat and you pulled your gun and shot him in the head. If it reasonably appeared to you that it was either your life or your assailant’s then the defence may be proved. If proved it results in an acquittal.

      The English common law does not have the concept of "different legal variations of murder, known as degrees". That is an American concept. Instead, you have murder and manslaughter.  

  3. Pale Rider says:

    So I see you are picking and choosing which comments you post now…some things a little too uncomfortable for you to contemplate???

    CNS: Not wanting to run into legal trouble so that this site is closed down and none of our readers can comment on anything, I try to be careful about about what is posted about ongoing court cases. However, because inevitably we get comments like this I am going to close the comment box on all court cases. Everyone can comment when they are over.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good idea Nicky.  We all should remind ourselves of CayPolitics – jusk Ellio friends!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sad, so very, very sad.  Provocation is not a reason to kill another human being and this man should have gone to trial by Jury.  The actions in this case are quite interesting to say the least.  Rest in Peace Jazzy B. You are missed.

  5. Legalese says:

    Just to clarify, with the utmost respect, provocation is not a legal defence to murder.  Provocation is a mitigating factor to be taken into account in sentencing following a conviction for murder.  

    I suspect that the Crown is saying that evenif they were able to get a conviction for murder the defence would likely have been able to establish facts that would lead a judge to order a reduced sentence on the grounds of provocation. So rather than put the family and the community through the ordeal of a murder trial, a guilty plea to manslaughter gets to the same result in terms of the sentence to be served.  

    (I have no knowledge whatsoever of the specifics of this case, I just wanted to clear up any misconception that provocation is a ‘defence’ to murder – it is not.  At best, it will get you a shorter sentence.)

    • Anonymous says:

      That difference is huge…as it is the difference between a life sentence and 15 years for example. 

      Also, I know of a person who was charged for murder in Cayman and their defense was provocation.  They won the case and let in walked out of the court.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are both wrong. At common law provocation is a *partial* defence to murder. The onus is on the Defendant to prove provocation. If he does so then he may be convicted of manslaughter but not of murder. Provocation is not a completedefence that if proved would result in an acquittal.    

        Clearly, the Crown felt that there was a reasonable prospect of the Defence being able to prove provocation and so it would not serve the public interest to have a full trial where he was prepared to plead guilty to that charge. At least now there can be question of a wrongful conviction and appeals against conviction.    

  6. Anonymous says:

    It seems in Cayman no one gets murder convictions anymore, but rather manslaughter convictions for murdering a person.  I would suggest to all the prisoners in prison doing life sentences for murder convictions to appeal their cases as manslaughter, cause this is what it seems to be now in Cayman, is only manslaughter convictions being given for murder!  Murder convictions don’t seem to exist anymore!  Manslaughter means they will be out of prison in a few years, imagine!  You have people in prison for longer than that for dealing drugs!  This is getting abominable!! 

  7. Thankful says:

    I understand provocation and heated moments and only God knows what took place.  However, I hope the wrong signal is not sent in this case.  When you take a life it is the ultimate and that decision must be weighted seriously.

    I mean, my little legal knowledge tells me that provocation is a defense to murder, but if the defense was so strong in their case, they should have took their chances with a jury.  So the fact that the crown has accepted the case could only mean: 1) Best of two evils given the surcumstances 2) Best chance for a conviction.  However, if there may have been the slightest of doubt about this, a jury should have decided this.  There is too muchhappening in our community and no one should be slapped on the wrist for taking the ultimate decison.

    I pray for continued healing to the children and families involved and for community to be rid of this murderous spirit…in Jesus name

  8. Anonymous says:

    I knew Jazzy B for many years and therefore I find it very difficult to believe this whole provocation argument.  However, at least in this case the killer has been identified and will serve (some) time for the murder.  Rest in Peace Jazzy, you were the best!

  9. Anonymous says:

    "Given issues of provocation" this individual was given a lessor charge. What pray tell is the exact issue of provocation for chopping and stabbing another human being to death?

    The public deserves to know just what issue of provocation existed toadjust their code of conductaccordingly.