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(ANTIGUA OBSERVER) – Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin said that the government will be footing the bill to lay murder accused, Deon “Ticks” Thomas, who has been on ice for over five years, to rest.
“The government would assume their responsibility and we will bury him, we have no choice. We will go through the normal process, he will get a Christian burial and everything, but we will not be doing anything out of the way,” Benjamin said yesterday.
A month after the cause of death for “Ticks” was determined as cardiac arrest, the Managing Director of Straffie’s Funeral Home said that no one has contacted her to make arrangements to bury the murder accused, who has been at her funeral home since July 2012. Elizabeth Saunders told OBSERVER media yesterday that she is still awaiting word.
“I have not officially been contacted. What I heard came from people who heard the press conference they [the government] had and there was an article in the OBSERVER. I have no additional information, nobody has contacted me,” Saunders said.
At the time of his death on July 12, Thomas who had been on remand for five months on a murder charge, took ill and died at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre.
In late August, a pathologist in the Bahamas sent her report on the cause of death to the government, after earlier autopsies were deemed inconclusive.
Saunders said that none of Thomas’ family members or friends has ever been interested in finding out what will become of the dead man’s body.
“The family is not involved, and has never been. No family member ever came to see the body,” she said. Antiguan law states that Thomas could not be buried until a cause of death was established.
The deceased was charged, along with expolice constable Gideon Jackson, ex-soldier Timorie Elliott and Omari “Boots” Phillip, for holding up workers and patrons at gunpoint at Dee’s Service Station on February 17, 2012. Pump attendant Dorothy Prince was shot and later died.
Jackson turned state’s witness, pleaded guilty to his crime, and was sentenced to 12 years, while Phillip and Elliott are serving 25 and 23-year terms respectively.
Both sides have been silent on the total of the mounting storage bill, and Benjamin said that it is anticipated that the condition of the body may not be the best after having been held on ice for so long.