Gordon sorry for DJ killing

| 25/09/2009

(CNS): As the court heard submissions from both Crown and defence counsel regarding the sentencing of Paul Gordon, who has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Sherman Bodden (aka DJ Jazzy B), the convicted man said he was truly sorry to Bodden’s family and his own children in Jamaica for the crime he had committed. Gordon also apologised to the Cayman community and to his former employers after his attorney had asked the chief justice to recognise that his client had admitted his guilt from the start. “This was never a murder case, “said QC Howard Hamilton who described the case as one of the most tragic he had ever been involved with.

Stating the facts of the case before the presiding judge, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards told the court that the Crown had accepted a manslaughter plea but said Bodden had acted out of anger and not through fear when he stabbed Bodden six times during a fight on the night of 9 March 2009 at an address in Savannah. Richards explained that Gordon had been involved with Marcia Smith for some four years before the relationship broke up and Gordon had moved out of the home they shared. Following the separation Smith had met and begun to form a friendship with Bodden.

Richards explained how Gordon had gone to Smith’s residence where he still retained his possessions to collect a phone charger on the night Bodden was killed. He asked if he could speak to Smith about salvaging their relationship. However, as they began to talk Bodden arrived at the house around 10:30pm, as was pre-arranged, with food and was let in by Smith. Richards said that the two men exchanged words, a punch and food was thrown and a fight broke out. Richards said it was unclear who threw the first punch but Gordon said it was Bodden.

During the fight, Gordon who carried a ratchet knife, used the weapon on Bodden, inflicting six wounds one of which was fatal. The solicitor general said that when the Emergency Services arrived Bodden was dead and Gordon had reportedly said at the time: “You see what you made me do, you see what love do?” and, “He’s dead.”

Richards said that after the fight Gordon went outside and threw away the knife, which was never found, and then waited for the police and admitted to the offence immediately. Richards said that, despite the admission, the court should consider the degree of provocation that drove Gordon to kill Bodden as she said it was not fear, desperation or anticipation of violence, but that Gordon had expressed he was motivated by anger.

She suggested that the extent of his retaliation to the punch was excessive and that he had disposed of the weapon. Richards also noted the devastating impact on Bodden’s friends and family,and in particular his children, and asked the judge to consider those facts as he calculated the sentence.

Gordon’s own counsel, Hamilton, said that the throwing away of the weapon was seen by many psychologists as an action of regret after such an incident and not a deliberate attempt to cover anything up. He also noted that the provocation was not so much from Bodden but from Gordon’s girlfriend Smith. He said that she had deceived both men about their respective relationships and that allowing Bodden into the house when Gordon clearly still believed that the relationship was not yet over was a provocative move. “She was inviting an argument when she let her new lover into the house when her old lover was alreadythere who had said he did not believe the relationship was over,” Hamilton told the court.

Hamilton said Smith had told Bodden that things were over between her and Gordon but had told Gordon nothing was going on between her and Bodden. Hamilton noted that Gordon had only just moved from the residence that the couple had shared for more than four years, days before the fight, and virtually all of Gordon’s possessions were still at Smith’s house, to which he had a key.

He said that in the days before the fight Smith had initiated numerous texts and phone calls to Gordon and he did not believe the relationship was over yet and that he was merely giving Smith some space.

Hamilton said it was Bodden who threw the first blow and when the fight ensued Bodden was overpowering Gordon who had been carrying a knife ever since one of his colleagues was brutally attacked while at work – a man who eventually killed himself as a result of the horrific disfigurement.

Moreover, Hamilton said Gordon did not go to the house with a knife seeking a fight but he was in what he still considered to be his real home when another man arrived late at night, invited by the woman he still loved.

The defence counsel said Gordon had never denied his guilt and had insisted on making a statement to the police immediately. Although the Crown had said Bodden had acknowledged killing Bodden immediately, Hamilton said he was not aware that he had actually caused Bodden’s death until during his police interview, when Hamilton said the interview had to be stopped as Gordon wept uncontrollably.

He said that the fight, which lasted just over a minute, had started after the angry words were exchanged and Bodden misunderstood Gordon’s moving towards him as a threat when he was actually going to leave, causing him to throw both a punch and the food at him. “A terrific fight then ensued,” said Hamilton, which, he added, was not fully witnessed by Smith, who was locked in a room, or the helper, whose statements were, he suggested, contradictory.

The defence counsel told the court there were no aggravating circumstances and that the death of Bodden was a tragedy that should and could have been avoided.  Hamilton suggested that Gordon’s degree of remorse was such that no sentence imposed by the court would ever surpass his own burden of guilt.

The chief justice has said he will pass sentence on Monday morning.

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