Feb 12, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – “I feel pleased that Hillary Edwards is in the law’s hands now,” were the words of Orin Archibald, eldest brother of raped and murdered Sister’s Village, East Bank Berbice teen, Leonard Archibald. He was at the time addressing the court shortly before the life sentence was handed down to Hillary “Country” Edwards.
Edwards, who lived at Sister’s Village, East Bank Berbice, prior to his incarceration, was found guilty by a 12-mixed member jury recently at the Berbice High Court. He was charged with the capitol offence of murder, committed on Leonard, who was 13 at the time of his demise.
In the report read by Probation and Social Service officer, Ms. Shepherd, it detailed that Edwards was born on August 26, 1988 and is the second of eight children. He became employed at the age of 14 and the accused indicated that he had experienced a few trials and tribulations during his life. After working several jobs, he returned to his parents at Sister’s Village and subsequently resided with a friend. The report also mentioned that a conflict arose with his parents, after he made sexual advances towards his little brother, resulting in him living with the friend.
The report mentioned that the accused was regarded as a menace and pedophile in the community, with the Police stating that they received reports of sexual assault of teens in the village. Subsequent to his incarceration, residents stated that they have not received reports of missing persons or teens being attacked. Victims who reportedly suffered at the hands of the accused were also interviewed and the report detailed their horrifying experiences with Edwards.
The report also said that the family of Leonard Archibald expressed that they wanted justice for the death of their loved one. His father Walter said he was actively involved in the search for his dear son, while the mother said her son’s death was on his father’s birthday. She stated that Leonard wanted to be a teacher and was well mannered.
The report also said that the accused stated that he had no reason to kill Archibald and that he was his paternal cousin. He said he was surprised that the 12 member jury found him guilty and he still maintains his innocence.
Meanwhile, Orin Archibald, eldest brother of Leonard Archibald, in the victim impact statement, told the court, “I feel pleased that Hillary Edwards is in the law’s hands now and they could give the family a good result in this case. The loss of my brother has made me upset and he was very loving, we the family are hurt. I really want to say if I get a good satisfaction, the family will be thankful for whatever is done here.” The accused then told the court via Zoom, “I was shocked that the jury found me guilty. I am begging you to have some leniency on my sentencing. I must give the family respect, I am sorry for what happened to the family on their son’s death, but I am innocent of the crime.”
During her submission, Prosecutor for the State, Attorney-at-law, Tuanna Hardy, said that the probation report was not challenged. She said there were multiple reports of sexual assaults committed by Edwards and “we can stand here and point fingers… but at the end of the day all fingers have to be pointed at Edwards. He shows no remorse and he is not accepting the verdict. This is not somebody that can be sent back to the village.…”
She reasoned that “(Edwards) betrayed trust, took Leonard to a house, buggered him and dumped his body in a river. He has a serious issue of sexual advances to young boys. When these acts occurred before he didn’t stop, it went on to murder. The State is asking for a sentence that reflects the nature and gravity of this offence.”
Justice Ramlall in handing down her sentence said she considered the nature of the offence and the circumstances which surrounded the case. She underscored that the offence is murder and not only was the victim a relative of the offender “but he was a mere 13 years old. His life was snuffed out in the most sadistic manner, having been sodomized to the point of unconsciousness, after which his lifeless body was dumped in the Berbice River. The violation of his body continued as it was left to the elements in the ocean and scavengers, so much so that it was discovered with limbs and body parts missing.”
Justice Ramlall said she considered the impact which the commission of this offence had on the relatives of the deceased and the lack of remorse on the part of the accused as it was disclosed in the probation report “and the address this (yesterday) morning is also taken into account.” She said “he expressed sentiments of loss of life but has not accepted responsibility for the deceased’s demise.” She also reasoned that the offender while seeking mercy from the court “showed none to his cousin, the deceased.”
She subsequently stated that a life sentence was appropriate.
“I therefore impose a life sentence on the offender; he is to serve a minimum of 27 years before becoming eligible for parole. Additionally, I order that he receive counseling on a quarterly basis, during the period of his incarceration.”
In initial reports carried by Kaieteur News, it was noted that Hillary Edwards of Kortberaadt, East Bank Berbice, was charged for the abduction, rape and murder of Archibald, whose decomposed body was found on the Kortberaadt foreshore. He was charged with the crime committed between September 17 and September 24, 2017. The matter was heard by Magistrate Alex Moore in the New Amsterdam Magistrate’s Court. At the conclusion of the Preliminary Inquiry, the Magistrate found that a prima facie case was made out against the accused. Edwards was unrepresented in court.
Archibald had disappeared and met a most unfortunate and cruel death after he had followed his two sisters to a birthday party.
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