– Victim was stabbed 35 times…..
By Latoya Giles
A 26-year-old man, who stabbed his 18-year-old girlfriend 35 times with a knife and ice pick, was yesterday sentenced to 17 years imprisonment by Justice Winston Patterson.
Klaus Daniels had earlier pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter, for killing Stacy Ann Thomas, on March 14, 2008, at Cowan and Duke Streets, Kingston.
Daniels had fled to relatives in Berbice whom he told what he had done and was encouraged by a female police officer, a relative of his, to turn himself in.
Following Daniels’ guilty plea to the lesser offence, State Prosecutor Judith Gildharie-Mursalin, who prosecuted in association with Teshana James-Lake, narrated the facts of the case to the court.
Daniels shared a relationship with Stacy Ann Thomas. On the date of the incident, Thomas was living with her grandmother at Lot 447 East Ruimveldt Back Circle.
At around 7:30am on March 14, 2008, the prosecutor said, Daniels went to Thomas’s home where they had a conversation and as a result, the teenager got dressed and informed her grandmother that Thomas was taking her home with him. When the couple left that morning, they were holding hands.
Daniels and Thomas went to his brother’s apartment at Cowan and Duke Streets, Kingston.
At about 9:00am, Dianne Smith, who usually visited her 77-year-old uncle, who lived in the upper flat of the building, was at the side of the house cleaning fish when she heard a female screaming.
The court was told that the woman checked twice, but saw nothing. After Smith was finished doing her chores she returned upstairs, and her uncle told her something.
As a result of what her uncle told her, Smith sat on the front verandah facing Duke Street.
She saw Shem Munroe, the brother of the accused, arrive in a car with a friend.
The prosecutor said that Munroe went inside the apartment and within seconds, he came out back and he was crying.
Smith’s uncle spoke with Munroe and as a result, she and her uncle went downstairs where she saw a female lying in a pool of blood. That female was Stacy Ann Thomas.
The accused was nowhere in the apartment.
Following his arrest, Daniels told the police under caution: “Stacey was my girl and I love she bad but she started being unfaithful.”
Daniels said that on March 13, 2008, he had visited Thomas and confronted her.
He confronted her about having a relationship with a ‘Rastaman’ who he said was no good and he was a better man.
At this point Daniels told Thomas that he was going to call his new girlfriend, Monique, and picked up his phone.
Daniels alleged that Thomas grabbed his phone, and then picked up an ice-pick. A fight ensued.
The man said he took away the ice-pick from her and during the fight, he fell into a chair and Thomas fell on top of him and said, “Aaah” “like if she get bore.”
Daniels claimed he told her to stop but she left and went into the kitchen and returned with a knife. By that time, he had thrown the ice-pick away in the house.
He and Thomas continued fighting over the knife. He claimed he got the knife away from her but during the fight, she was stabbed again.
Daniels said he told her not to move because he was going to call his brother for him to come and get an ambulance.
Thomas got up, fell down and hit her head on a chair in the living room. He saw blood oozing from her body.
Daniels called his brother and waited in the apartment until his brother arrived. He said he picked up his bag to go to Eve Leary (Police Headquarters) to turn himself in.
However, on the way, Daniels said that a man told him that he had to hide so instead he went to some of his relatives in Berbice, one of whom was a Police Officer who advised him to surrender to the police.
But a post mortem report done three days after the incident by Dr. Nehaul Singh told a different story.
Dr. Singh found that Thomas had 35 wounds, 27 of which were caused by a sharp pointed circular instrument, while the other eight were incised wounds to her neck caused by a sharp pointed instrument.
Nine of the circular wounds were found to the right side of the top of her head, passing through her skull into her brain.
Dr. Singh gave the cause of death as haemorrhage and shock due to multiple puncture and stab wounds.
In his mitigation plea, counsel for the accused, Nigel Hughes described the circumstances as “tragic” and the case as a “crime of passion in which Daniels allowed his emotions to get the better of him.”
He decried the unfortunate circumstances Daniels was born into, as he is the last of 13 children, his mother died whilst giving birth to him, and his father passed away shortly thereafter.
He grew up with an aunt and struggled to educate himself, attending GTI after high school, qualifying as a mechanic. He was employed in that capacity at Wieting & Richter at the time of the offence.
Hughes said Daniels was described by family and friends as a “good, hard working” young man whom the deceased teenager’s grandmother also liked.
However, not making an excuse for Daniels’ action, he discovered that Thomas confessed to an adulterous affair. They parted ways and then the relationship recommenced with promises of fidelity and vows that there would be no such recurrence of unfaithfulness.
Hughes said that quite often in contemporary society, the absence of a male leaves no role model for young men when they find themselves in difficulties and some young people today resort to suicide which has now become prevalent.
He observed that women are now outstripping the men in terms of education and otherwise, and in order to compete, men react in a physical manner, although this ought not to be condoned or viewed as an excuse for what his client did.
According to Hughes, Daniels and Thomas’ relationship was going “hotly” when he discovered that she was again unfaithful and this second time with a Rastafarian gentleman who was unemployed.
Daniels was confronted with that ‘old’ emotion called “love mixed with infidelity.” He felt that in terms of eligibility, there was no competition between him and the other man.
He said he was not making excuses for what Daniels did but merely explaining the circumstances.
In relation to the injuries sustained by Thomas, Hughes said that as voluminous as those were, they were more a testament of the intensity of Daniels’ emotions and not necessarily an intention to injure. He said the post mortem report cannot speak as to how fast the injuries would have been inflicted, but it would have been a relatively short period of time, because the “blood rushed into his head.”
Hughes said no amount of sympathy extended to Thomas’ grandmother can be enough for the loss she has suffered and he urged the judge to be lenient and visit upon Daniels true compassion and a sentence that allows him to re-enter and contribute to society.
Justice Patterson in his address said that “having listened to the facts, one was shivering in one’s pants”.
“The injuries were of a gruesome nature, particularly the wounds that penetrated the brain,” Patterson said.
“Then having listened to the stirring plea of mitigation, the court is in an unenviable position in balancing both sides so that justice prevails. The person who has lost the most here is the grandmother of the deceased since she loved this accused and brought him and her granddaughter back together.
This speaks of nothing short of temporary insanity for a man to do this to the woman he loved. This would not have been this way had the weapons not been readily available but I have to consider that 27 of those wounds were incised.
However, Daniels has always expressed remorse from the time he was arrested but the greatest gift we have from God is life and you have taken a life which was not yours to take.”
“Klaus, do you know you are facing life imprisonment?” Judge Patterson asked the defendant, who responded, “Yes.”
“I am going to temper justice with mercy by giving you a sentence that is not inordinately high but not too low. You will have sufficient time to reflect on what you have done. I sentence you to 17 years imprisonment.”
An expressionless Daniels was then led away while his relatives and the aunt of the deceased began crying.
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