Youngest ‘lifer’ awaits decision over jail term

| 07/04/2017 | 13 Comments
Cayman News Service

Police officer puts up crime tape at scene of McGaw’s murder (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): Chakane Jameile “CJ” Scott, who was just 18 years old when he shot and killed Asher William McGaw (21), appeared before the Grand Court Friday for a hearing to decide how much time he must serve in jail before he can be considered for release. One of several men serving mandatory life sentences at HMP Northward, Scott is the youngest of all of the killers who remain in jail and who, under the Conditional Release Law, must now be given a tariff for those life sentences. He is likely to receive a lower tariff than the 30-year starting point set out in the law because of his age.

Age is seen as a mitigating factor in the legislation and Scott, who is now 23, was just a few months past his eighteenth birthday when he used a modified flare gun to shoot McGraw several times in the early morning hours of 22 September 2011 in East End. The young men knew each other and had been drinking together before the shooting, but no motive for the murder was ever established.

Representing Scott, attorney Sasha Wass QC argued that in this case age was a major factor because if it had happened less than four months earlier, he would have been convicted as a child and held at the pleasure of the governor with a much shorter tariff. Wass pointed to the much older case of Philip Glennon Ebanks, who was just 17 years old when he was charged with killing West Bay shop owner Una Yates, known as “Miss Che-Che”.

After he was convicted, he was given a ten-year tariff, although he ended up serving far longer for other reasons. The attorney noted the difference to the tariff of 30 years that Scott could face, despite being just a few months older than Ebanks was at the time of his sentencing. Describing Scott’s circumstance as being almost an accident of time that could lead to such a difference in the tariff length, she argued that the court must consider a lower tariff for Scott because of his young age.

Justice Alex Henderson, who has come out of retirement to hear the cases where he was the original trial judge, said he would deliver his decision on the time Scott will serve on 21 April.

As Scott left the court when the case was adjourned, Asher McGaw’s father shouted at him that however old he was, he knew what he did. Making it clear that he was not happy about the hearing and what could result in the early release of his son’s murderer, the grieving father said that age didn’t matter because he had shot his son multiple times.

But whatever sentence the court decides is appropriate for Scott to serve is only the minimum time he must stay in jail before he can be considered for release on licence. It is not a release date and there are no guarantees that he will go free. The Conditional Release Board will be tasked with considering all of the facts before any lifer will be released on licence once they have completed the minimum tariffs set by the court.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Public funds should not be allowed for this sort of thing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    social injustice here in island. importing poverty…..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let me quote from a good book, “Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance”.

  4. Nunya says:

    I’m always baffled at the effort that is placed on the individual that disrupted the lives of the victim and their family – and like in this case do devastatingly.
    I get human rights and all – but what about the life of the one that was taken in such an act of instant gratification.
    We need to teach children now-a-days the act of patience, respect, human interactions that does not involve a device and conflict resolutions. It’s not a problem unique to the Cayman Islands, but if we are not going to be able to get the guns out of the hands of these kids then we need to approach this from another angle.

    I’m sorry, but just like how this was a freak of timing for the shooter – it was a freak of timing for the victim. So why spin this to where he gets a shorter sentence if it were months earlier – too bad – It wasn’t.

  5. Observer says:

    I fully agree with the father, age didn’t matter when this tug shot the young man so he shouldn’t be considered for an release, he should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Chakane Jameile” are names he could do without, but he’s not to blame for that.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Throw away the key.

    • Anonymous says:

      He should be caged for life. Anyone who would do what he did is clearly a great danger to the public. Why take a chance?

  8. Anonymous says:

    No reason to release this animal. Asher won’t get a second chance at life, why should he??
    Life is life, you take one you lose yours.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Something between 150 and 200 years would protect good innocent people the best. His “rights” ought not to risk the safety of my value, as we are good people.

  10. West Bay Reader says:

    Serve justice not compassion. Justice is lock him up for life. Compssion as you liberal judges will serve is just another four years in jail. He will get out and kill again. Liberals believe in rehabilitation. It is a myth. Recidavists will always have repeated behaviors of killing because you cannot tame wild animals or these damaged individuals.
    Please Judges do lock up people like this for life. Govt. has money for a new airport but not funds to keep the public safe from these predators?

  11. Anonymous says:

    One of the more factual articles I have read in a long time.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It really takes a false sense of security to live in this country as we are an endangered species as law following Caymanians. Our courts can’t do much, or prisoners say “prison isn’t as bad as they thought it would be” and or law enforcement is like the Andy Griffith Show. We are defenseless prey with a lion in wait. We can’t protect ourselves and the courts say that’s what the cops are for. Yet the cops say “we will be steping up patrols as part of…. and we would like the public to assist with any information…. then we are in problems again because they won’t protect their witnesses and they say” we can’t be everywhere at once. We need prayer.

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