DAVID DONALD was yesterday sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of taxi driver Ramesh Seelochan 15 years ago.
Seelochan was robbed and shot in his head back in August 2002. His taxi was found burnt.
In 2007, Donald was convicted for Seelochan's murder and was sentenced to death by hanging. However, he appealed the conviction and sentence and the matter was directed back to the High Court for sentencing.
He was yesterday sentenced on the basis of the felony murder rule. This principle states that if a killing occurs during the commission of an arrestable offence involving violence, those who participated in the offence are guilty of unlawful homicide, either murder or manslaughter, depending on the facts surrounding the participation of the particular accused.
Yesterday, before the San Fernando First Criminal Court, Justice Carla Brown-Antoine sentenced Donald to 30 years in prison.
It was the State's case that at 2 p.m. on August 8, 2002, Donald went to the Brother's Road home of his friend of five years, Willis Romeo, and asked that he accompany him to Tabaquite. Romeo agreed. While the two walked to the junction near Romeo's home, Romeo asked Donald how they were going to reach to Tabaquite. Donald who was carrying a knapsack, told him Seelochan will take them. Seelochan came in his gold-coloured Nissan B13 taxi and Romeo sat in the front passenger seat while Donald sat behind Seelochan.
During the journey, Donald pulled out a gun and announced a hold up. He told Seelochan to stop the car and ordered both men out of the vehicle. He told them to walk to a forested area and followed them while pointing the gun. He asked Seelochan whether he had money and he said he had $200. This Donald told Romeo to take from the taxi driver and hand over to him (Donald).
Seelochan pleaded for his life and said he will do anything Donald wanted but was told that will not work. Romeo was told to tie Seelochan's hands behind his back with Seelochan's lacing and both men were ordered to walk further into the forest. Seelochan continued to beg for his life.
Romeo then ran to the vicinity of the car and four to five seconds later he heard a gunshot. Donald caught up with Romeo and told him to drive the car to a forested area in Moruga where Donald lit the car afire.
Three days later Seelochan's body was found at Tabaquite Road, opposite a pumping station.
Romeo went to the Rio Claro police station where he gave a statement and took police officers to the burnt car.