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Killer ‘J-Lo’ loses Privy Council appeal

By Rickie Ramdass rickie.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

A CHAGUANAS woman, who allegedly confessed to luring her victim to death with the promise of a threesome sex romp in 2003, had her death sentence commuted to life in prison by the Privy Council last Thursday.

The British law lords, however, dismissed the appeal filed by Julia “J-Lo” Ramdeen, 35, challenging the conviction imposed on her for the murder of Carlos Phillip, 37, whose naked body was found on Christmas Day, 2003, in a pond off Pokhor Road, Charlieville.

Also convicted of his murder in 2008, at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, was Ramdeen’s lover David Abraham, 43.

During the trial before then-High Court judge Justice Ian Stewart Brook, the State had sought to rely on Ramdeen’s alleged confession statement and that of Junior Bruzual, who was also arrested for the offence, but later turned State witness in exchange for immunity from prosecution.  

Ramdeen had allegedly given homicide investigators a statement saying that she agreed to have a threesome with Phillip in her apartment.

Upon his arrival, he behaved drunkenly and aggressively before a fight ensued. During the fight, Ramdeen allegedly confessed to repeatedly hitting Phillip on the head with a brick.

She then called an acquaintance for advice, who told her to kill Phillip to prevent him from making a report to police.

Following this, she allegedly took a knife and began cutting and stabbing Phillip to the neck, and together with the acquaintance and his friend, they attempted to dispose of Phillip’s body.

The version given by Bruzual, however, was that he, Ramdeen and Abraham had planned to carry out a robbery using Phillip’s car.

Bruzual said he and Abraham were awaiting Phillip’s arrival while he was being lured by Ramdeen.

When he arrived, Abraham struck Phillip with the brick before stabbing him. Bruzual said he (Bruzual) and Ramdeen also struck Phillip with the brick, before attempting to dispose of his body.

The trial judge had instructed the jury that they were not to “marry together” the two different accounts, but were to first consider Bruzual’s account in relation to both defendants.

If they rejected Bruzual’s account, they were then to consider the case against Ramdeen alone based on her alleged confession. 

In her appeal, Ramdeen said the trial judge misdirected the jury on the approach they were to take to the separate accounts and that the judge wrongfully failed to leave provocation to the jury as a possible defence.

Additionally, she argued that the judge failed to direct the jury that her good character went to her credibility as well as her propensity to act in the fashion alleged.

In dismissing Ramdeen’s appeal against conviction, the law lords said the judge’s directions on the different prosecution accounts were clear, fair and appropriate.

On the issue of sentence, which arose from Board’s landmark decision in Pratt and Morgan versus the Attorney General for Jamaica, (1994), the court said to carry out the death sentence would constitute inhumane punishment given that the time for carrying out the said sentence had expired on July 13 last year.

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