The son of a wealthy rice farmer pays a poverty-stricken youth a miserly sum to kill a sibling who got the larger share of their father’s wealth.
A wife recruits an amateur hit man to bump off her husband over their assets.
An elderly woman is gunned down for a City property.
A businesswoman is riddled outside her home, about a year after a botched plot to execute her husband.
A drug addict is reportedly offered a paltry sum to set fire to a building with its sleeping occupants.
These are examples of true cases that police say show a worrying trend of people hiring individuals to get rid of associates, and even spouses, to get their hands on disputed assets. What is also worrying to the police is the fact that some of these murders are staged to appear as being the work of bandits.
This is happening at a time when the cops are taking flack over the worrisome spate of violent robberies.
“It ( the increase in property dispute murders) is something we are very concerned about,” Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum acknowledged last week.
“It is something we will have to start monitoring. Whenever we have certain murders, we will have to look to see if they are linked to property disputes.”
‘CAIN AND ABEL’ SAGA
One of the most heinous cases, reminiscent of the biblical Cain and Abel narrative, occurred 29 years ago.
On March 19, 1987, 27-year-old Abdool Kaleem Yassin was found shot dead at his Riverstown, Essequibo home.
From all appearances, the young man, who came from a wealthy business family, was the victim of a violent robbery.
His elder brother, 32-year-old Abdool Saleem Yassin, was so enraged that he pleaded with the police to keep his firearm, since he feared that he would shoot the killer if the suspect was apprehended.
But then police were tipped off that Abdool Saleem Yassin had promised a youth, Noel Thomas, seven hundred dollars to murder the younger brother.
The motive? The siblings’ father had bequeathed a larger portion of his wealth to the younger son. The jealous older brother Abdool Yaseen figured that this wealth would become his if his younger brother was eliminated.
Noel Thomas, the poverty-stricken man he hired, had allegedly done the job after being paid a hundred dollars. But the plot came to light after Kaleem refused to pay the rest of the money.
Noel Thomas began to talk.
Detectives arrested Yassin and his alleged assassin Thomas, and, under interrogation, both men eventually confessed. Saleem Yassin, whose greed caused his downfall, died of tuberculosis in the Georgetown Prisons some years ago. His alleged hit-man, who the other inmates nicknamed ‘hundred ’ because of the hundred dollar ‘advance’ he allegedly took to kill the younger Yassin, still languishes on death row. He’s presently appealing to be pardoned.
KILLING GRANDMA FOR HER LAND
One of the evening of June 20, 2011, two men went up the front steps of the Lot 42 Robb Street home of 72-year-old Clementine Fiedtkou-Parris.
They asked to see her, and when she came to the door, the men shot her dead before escaping in a waiting car.
Almost immediately, information surfaced that the execution was linked to a dispute over the old woman’s property. The gunmen were reportedly paid $400,000 each to end the woman’s life.
Orin Hinds, called ‘Red Man,’ of Burnham Boulevard, Mocha, East Bank Demerara; Kevin October called, ‘Troy,’ of Second Street, Agricola, East Bank Demerara; Cleon Hinds, and Roy Jacobs called ‘Chippie’ or ‘Black Boy’ of Evans Street, Charlestown, were arrested and charged for her murder.
Cleon Hinds, one of the accused, revealed in a caution statement that an individual named ‘Roy’ informed him that “a big man, pay them big money fuh throw down a big lady next to Trans (Traspacific Motor Spares).”
Hinds stated that he later learnt that the ‘big man’ had an ongoing dispute with Mrs. Fiedtkou-Parris , over the land she occupied.
According to the statement, Hinds told the police that prior to the shooting, he had borrowed a gun to kill the old woman but his brother eventually went on the “wuk”.
He subsequently learnt that the old woman was dead. A few days later, the accused said he received $80,000 from Roy to share between himself and his brother.
“A real sorry for the lady boss man. Me ain’t even know how me get caught up in this thing,” Hinds said in his statement.
On , 2015, wails echoed through the High Court after Justice Justice Navindra Singh imposed a combined sentence of 324 years on the four accused. This amounted to 10 years for premeditation, another 10 years because the murder was for pay and five years for the use of a firearm. Four years were deducted for the time the men served in prison pending trial, bringing the judgment to 81 years each.
They must serve at least 45 years in jail before they are eligible for parole.
But a pastor of the church Mrs. Fiedtkou-Parris once attended made the telling point that the intellectual author of the crime is still at large.
THE AUTO DEALER’S WIFE
On January 12, at 129 Atlantic Gardens, East Coast Demerara, 43-year-old Patricia Senasie stepped out a vehicle to open the gate so her daughter could drive into the businesswoman’s yard at 129 Atlantic Gardens, East Coast Demerara.
It was then that gunmen, clad in dark clothing riddled her with bullets before escaping in another vehicle.
A month later, police arrested and charged Richard Stanton, of Princes Street, Lodge for the murder, after the victim’s daughter, positively identified him as one of the gunmen.
The killing had occurred almost a year after the slain woman’s husband, Deokaran Sanasie, owner of Ram’s Auto Sales, survived a similar attempt on his life.
On February 14, 2014, the 59-year-old businessman, known as ‘Ram’, was sitting outside his hardware store in Light and Fourth Streets, Alberttown, when a man who was on a CG motorcycle shot him three times.
He survived the attack and later identified individuals whom he claimed had paid the gunmen $6M to kill him. The attempt was said to have stemmed from a property dispute.
MURDER BY FIRE
At around 2.00 a.m. on November 16, 2014, someone set fire to an old, three-storey building at Robb and King Streets. At the time, 63-year-old Hilrod Thomas, and his two daughters, Theresa Rozario, 15, and 12-year-old Feresa Rozario, were inside.
The two girls were trapped inside. A badly burned Hilrod Thomas managed to jump through a window. He died shortly after from his injuries.
The building in which the girls perished was at the centre of a bitter and protracted dispute involving Hilbert Thomas and others, who were all claiming ownership, following the owner’s death in 2001. Some individuals in the dispute accused one another of causing the tragic fire.
But just over a year after the deadly arson attack, police arrested and charged Ganga Kishna, 72, a businessman of Lot 11 North Road, Bourda and his employee Avishkar Kissoon, 24, of Lot 1 Sherriff Street, on a joint charge of murder.
Prior to that, police had questioned and even detained Kishna numerous times during their investigations.
The charges came shortly after a drug addict reportedly confessed to police that he was offered money to set fire to the disputed Robb and King Streets building in November 2014.
Police investigators were told that a city businessman, who has claimed ownership of the property, had paid the ‘junkie’ to set the building on fire.
HAMMERED TO DEATH AT HERSTELLING
On the morning of September 10, 2015, Nathan Persaud, a 42-year-old block maker, was found dead in the living room of his Lot 66 Herstelling home.
His body bore a stab wound to his chest and the back of his head was bashed in. Police recovered a hammer, two knives and a piece of rock, all of which had blood stains from the crime scene.
Some residents had reportedly seen a strange man leaving the slain man’s yard.
About a month later, police detained Oswald Junior Yaw, also known as Leow, in connection with the blockmaker’s death.
Particulars of the newly instituted charge alleged that on September 10, at Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, they murdered Nathan Persaud in pursuant of an agreement. As part of the agreement, Beverly Persaud promised Yaw money, as inducement for him to consider causing the death of Nathan Persaud.
It is alleged that he was contracted and promised $1.7M to kill Persaud. Police also arrested the slain man’s estranged wife, Beverly Persaud in connection with his murder, which was said to have stemmed from a dispute the couple had over their assets.
On October 14, Beverly Persaud and Oswald Junior Yaw, were remanded for the block maker’s murder.
The charge alleged that the two murdered Nathan Persaud, and that Beverly Persaud had promised Yaw money, as inducement for him to consider causing Persaud’s death.
KILLING A WIFE, STAGING A ROBBERY
On August 20, 2015, Pamela Kendall, a 56-year-old cash crop farmer, collapsed in her brother’s yard at number 45 Village, Corentyne, with a bullet wound to her face. She died shortly after.
Initial reports were that Mrs. Kendall was shot by a gunman who had forced his way into the victim’s home during a power outage.
Her reputed husband, 51-year-old Deochand Sookchand was reportedly in the bathroom when the ‘gunman’ entered via the back door, shot Kendall, ran up an inner stairway, then fled empty handed with the ‘accomplice.’
Residents who knew the victim had blocked a roadway and burned tyres while expressing outrage at the deadly ‘home invasion’ and other violent crimes in the community.
Sookchand, a Good Hope Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), employee, was subsequently charged with Kendall’s murder.
At present, police are probing at least one other suspicious ‘home invasion murder’ that they believe may be linked to a dispute.
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