23-year-old gets eight years for manslaughter
From the Courts
December 4, 2012
23-year-old gets eight years for manslaughter

Before Tyson Spencer was led back to prison to serve his eight-year sentence, the father of the man he killed forgave him for the act on June 25, 2011.{{more}}

As the tears streamed down Spencer’s left cheek, Cleve Chewitt told Spencer that he was “forgiven”.

Spencer, 23, of Green Hill, was slapped with the eight-year custodial sentence on Friday after pleading guilty to manslaughter — for causing the death of Clevedon “Junior” Chewitt.

He was initially charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.

The court heard that on June 25, 2011, around 1 a.m. in Heritage Square, an incident occurred while the deceased, a 26-year-old DVD vendor, was dancing in front of a bar.

The deceased bumped into Spencer, who took a knife from the right side of his pants and stabbed the deceased in the left side of his neck.

He died 10 minutes after he arrived at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

In a police statement, Spencer said he recognized the deceased from seeing him around town selling CDs.

“He come and war whine up pon the woman dem who ah been liming with. The daughter fo the woman ain’t war give this guy ah whine and he keep humbugging her…” Spencer’s statement read.

Spencer further told police that after he saw that the girl did not want to dance with the deceased, he told him to leave the girl alone.

“He tell me ‘Boy, yuh can’t [expletive] around me.’ I say, ‘boy, yuh is ah [homosexual]…’ He pull ah knife from de left side of he waist and show me. I walk away from him and he came back and harassing the girl again…” the statement continued.

Spencer said he walked away and headed towards a speaker box. He said Chewitt continued harassing the women and he went to where they were and told Chewitt to leave the women alone.

“The man start to fire hand pon me, box and slap and them kinda thing. I then run back up on him and lash him back. I see like he meking ah move to tek the knife out he waist. Me ain’t allow him to tek the knife out he waist because me know he had de knife.”

Spencer stated that he had a fingernail clip in his pocket and that he fired a stab at the deceased. He said the fingernail clip had a “little knife” on it and that he had found it in Heritage Square that same night.

Spencer said he only fired a stab at Chewitt to keep him at bay and that he never meant to kill him.

“After the stabbing, I put the fingernail clip in me waist and when the Black Squad (Rapid Response Unit) men bring me down, it drop out me waist somewhere between Courts and Laynes … I tell the CID (Criminal Investigations Department) men where the knife drop. Ah carry them back and show them where de knife drop, but we didn’t find the knife…”

In mitigation, his attorney Ronald Marks told the court that his client lost his mother in 2000, while his father was still in jail — leaving him to fend on his own.

Marks said Spencer did several jobs to take care of himself and his younger siblings.

During his time in prison, Marks said his client has been a doing a lot to turn his life around.

He stated that Spencer has attempted CXC subjects and has been helpful around the prison.

“His actions that night was out of character and he was acting to protect the girl who was vigorously being pursued by the deceased.

“I ask the court to temper justice with mercy. I’m asking the court to give him a chance to contribute to society,” Marks pleaded.

Meanwhile, the judge, Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle, said it was one foolish act that had Spencer standing before him.

“You have a clean and commendable record, despite all the challenges you have faced with your life. No parental guidance and despite all of this, you tried to make something of yourself academically…” Bruce Lyle said.

“There is still hope for you. I am confident of that.”

Bruce-Lyle said he believes that at Carnival, people tend to feel they can do as they please.

“I have said before that I am not going to trivialize human life in this court. Although you were trying to protect the woman, you had no need to use a knife. You have to pay for it.

“I think the best thing for you is to stay there. Stay there and get an education. Get your CXC,” Bruce-Lyle said. (KW)