Mass murderer wanted a year in prison

October 21, 2022

Despite the brutality of his actions, quintuple murderer Rushane Barnett believed that he only deserved to spend a year behind bars for killing five people in Cocoa Piece, Clarendon.

The startling revelation was made yesterday inside the Home Circuit Court by Justice Leighton Pusey, who later ordered the 23-year-old to serve five concurrent life sentences for the June 21 massacre. Barnett was also hoping to be placed in a single cell during the duration of his desired sentence.

"He expressed the desire to be given oral medications, placed in a single cell and to remain in custody for a year before being released on the current charges," Justice Pusey said, much to the astonishment of the courtroom. But the killer was ordered to serve the life sentences for the murders of his cousin Kemesha Wright, 31, and her four children Kimanda Smith, 15, Shara-Lee Smith, 12, Rafaella Smith, five, and 23-month-old Keshawn Henry. Barnett sat stoically as Justice Pusey disclosed that he must serve 61 years and eight months in prison before he becomes eligible for parole.

Justice Pusey added that the findings from a report by forensic psychiatrist Dr Clayton Sewell were relevant to his decision making. In the report, Sewell surmised that Barnett was superficially charmed and deceitful, while lacking empathy and remorse for what he did. The doctor said that Barnett was also eager to deflect blame on to his mother, who he accused of setting obeah on him.

"(However) the doctor also found that Barnett understood the nature of the offence and was not acting under any abnormality of mind when he committed offence," Justice Pusey added.

Wright's mother, Gwendolyn McKnight, expressed gratitude to the public for helping her get justice for her daughter and grandchildren.

"I know the justice that they get cannot bring them back, but at least a little satisfaction is there and I am thanking the judge so much for understanding my grief and pain that I went through, so that he could give him what he deserve," she said. McKnight said she hoped the ruling would bring some closure.

"My daughter took him in, clothed him, fed him and this is the treatment that he gave her, so he has to pay for it. When somebody is good to you, you don't try to stab them behind their backs," she added.

But for Sandra Longmore, a mother of five, the sentence was a bit light.

"Yuh see the 61 years? That a just fi the likkle baby weh him kill. Him should a get more! It is a wicked act, and all if him did get a 1,000 years, justice wouldn't be served," she said, adding that 125 years in prison before being eligible for parole would have been more satisfactory.

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