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Guyana: Cane cutter convicted for killing mother-in-law, 9-y-o stepdaughter

By News Room Guyana

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Joshua Franklin

(NEWS ROOM GUYANA) — Joshua Franklin, a former cane cutter, was on Wednesday handed down two life sentences for the gruesome killing of his 55-year-old mother-in-law and nine-year-old stepdaughter whom he chopped to death at Tuschen Housing Scheme, East Bank Essequibo in 2014.

Franklin, 48, appeared before High Court Judge, Justice Sandil Kissoon earlier this month where he pleaded guilty to the two manslaughter charges. He was initially charged with murder but opted to plead to the lesser count.

Franklin admitted that on December 18, 2014, at Tuschen Housing Scheme, he unlawfully killed Bibi Zalima Khan, 55, and nine-year-old Ashley Boodhoo

Attorney-at-law Mark Conway represented Franklin while the State was represented by Prosecutor Abigail Gibbs.

On Wednesday, a probation report was read in court, which detailed the abusive relationship between Franklin and his reputed wife Geeta Boodhoo.

In mitigation, Attorney-at-law Conway told the court that his client is remorseful and throws himself at the mercy of the court.

“I’m sorry for what happened… please be merciful,” Franklin begged the court.

Prosecutor Gibbs asked the court to consider that Franklin used his skill as a cane cutter to slaughter his stepdaughter and mother-in-law and even when the child tried to escape, Franklin pulled her back and chopped her to death.

Gibbs explained that the act was premeditated because Franklin was armed with two cutlasses when he went on his chopping spree.

Justice Kissoon, after considering Franklin’s domestics history and the nature of the case, sentenced him to two terms of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving 30 years. The sentencing will run concurrently.

The State had contended that on the day in question, Franklin invaded the mother-in-law’s house and attacked her and the little girl with a cutlass.

During the mayhem, Franklin had also chopped his reputed wife Geeta Boodhoo multiple times about the body, but she escaped and hid in the verandah of a neighbour’s house.

Boodhoo had also lost her left hand from the wrist down in that incident. Franklin reportedly killed his reputed wife’s male friend Floyd Drakes during the chopping spree. This case will come up soon for report.

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