Serial killer turns to Christ - Born-again gangster wants minimum 25 years for gun crimes
Joe* was not yet 18 when he committed his first murder. A high school drop-out at age 16, this son of a don said he spent at least one decade demonstrating his ruthlessness -- shooting and killing persons whenever he felt it was justified -- even as he ran a drug empire.
Ashamed of his past, the former gangster, who was recently baptised, opened up about his life's dark chapter in an exclusive telephone interview with THE WEEKEND STAR on Thursday.
How many persons have you killed?, Joe was asked. He mustered an uneasy laugh before making the startling revelation.
"Bwoy, to tell yuh the truth, if mi give yuh a number I would be lying on myself. Fi a good while mi did stop count. All mi know the majority of heads weh mi buss [people killed] a rivals. If an innocent victim dead is must because of a stray bullet, and some of the times a no me alone go pon a mission a fire shot," he confessed.
Joe said that he could not sleep for weeks after he committed his first murder as he was constantly haunted by images of the victim's face. He said that things "became normal" as time went by, and there came a time when the fear of being haunted by his victims disappeared.
Ironically, the fear of losing his life combined with the fact that he was eventually caught the the long arm of the law, led to Joe deciding to put down his guns. His transition from the dark side began in 2004 when he was shot up by rivals at his 25th birthday.
"Mi get shot up by some a mi rivals dem who mi believe did a conspire wid some police officers fi sink me. A pon mi hospital bed mi deh when dem come fi arrest mi fi a murder weh mi never know bout. Of all the crimes weh mi commit, mi get convicted fi something weh mi never do," he said.
Joe said he was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was released after seven years for good behaviour. With time to reflect on his past actions, Joe said he got closer to God through deep reflection and was drawing inspiration from reading literatures written by black revolutionaries like Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X.
Last year he was introduced to Bishop Dr Leslie Morgan's ministry by a friend who saw that he was searching for something meaningful. A few months later, he decided to get baptised.
"Mi come close to death's door on more than one occasions. Me and police go inna shoot-out several times and mi know a nuh luck that or say true mi is a skilled shooter. A di blessings a God because when mi look how much of mi friends dem dead round me, me have to ask why God spare my life?," Joe said.
He insisted that he is a changed man. He said that God has seen his heart, and has given him another chance.
"Right now, not one of mi friends den weh did inna di gang weh mi form is alive today. If mi wah see dem mi affi look pon a wall or go the cemetery. Mi feel guilty more time when mi look back on the past and see certain things weh mi do," Joe said.
He told THE WEEKEND S TAR that he decided to share his story in the hope that he can dissuade misguided youths from getting involved in criminality.
"That is why mi a try reach out to the youth dem fi say no bother enter it in before it too late, stay far from it. My message to the youths now is simple -- focus more in school, try to create a career from a trade or education. Yuh affi try fi accept the environment you are in and don't victimise yourself," the born-again killer said.
He said that he is in full support of the Government's push to have persons who commit gun crimes spend a minimum of 15 years imprisonment.
"Yuh know mi nah go be biased and mi nah go be hypocrite, but fi real, that would a send a strong message," charged Joe, arguing that 25 years behind bars would be a reasonable starting point for sentencing.