(JAMAICA GLEANER) – Two days too late were the sentiments shared by residents of the usually quiet and sparsely populated community of Tower Hill on the outskirts of Mavis Bank in east rural St Andrew.
It followed the gruesome murder of a 29-year-old woman and her two babies last Wednesday, which they said was sparked by jealousy.
When the Jamaica Observer visited on Friday residents, while lamenting that it took too long for the media to get the story, expressed hope that it being highlighted will serve to spur the authorities to do all in their power to ensure justice is served.
The woman, Kashief Jackson, one-year-old Aviere Williams, and seven-day-old Aranza Williams were found by relatives.
The woman’s body was found with multiple stab wounds, while the cause of death of the infants is still unknown, contrary to earlier reports that they were found with stab wounds as well.
Pathologists are to conduct post-mortem examinations to determine the cause of their deaths.
Residents divulged that the mother was found clutching the week-old baby girl to her bosom while the boy, Aviere, who was supposed to celebrate his second birthday next month, was found in a blue bath pan a few feet from his mother and sister.
The house which Jackson shared with her partner, 42-year-old Artnel Williams, was covered in blood and evidence of an attempt to burn the house down with the bodies was obvious. There were no signs of forced entry, residents claimed.
But the story surrounding their killing has left the community tense and all fingers pointing in one direction.
Allegations are that Jackson was in the middle of a love triangle rife with jealousy and involving another woman.
When the Sunday Observer spoke to Jackson’s partner, who was at a shop with other residents, he confirmed that there was an ongoing rivalry between the two women.
Williams explained that he was in a relationship with another woman before Jackson came into the picture and since then, they have been at odds even though they have never seen each other face to face.
He also disclosed that they weren’t his only babymothers.
One relative claimed that the previous woman got the victim’s number when Jackson started seeing Williams, and had been threatening her ever since.
Based on the picture painted by residents, the other woman — whom they said lives in a nearby community — visits Williams sometimes, while Jackson, who is originally from Highgate in St Mary, has been living with him since she lost her job when she was seven months pregnant with Aranza — a mere two months ago.
Jackson’s sister, Yulan Bennett, said Kashief met Jackson some years ago after visiting a friend in Tower Hill. However, she was living in the Liguanea area before moving in with Williams.
Williams said that even though he had initially broken up with the other woman, he used to still visit her and would sometimes bring Aviere with him and she would visit him also.
However, he pointed out that things became more intense between the two women after it was suspected that an attempt was made to poison the boy during one of his visits.
“Mi wake up one morning and give me likkle son (Aviere) juice and him never drink all a it and inna the evening when me ago give him the rest of it, it look funny — so me grab the straw from him mouth and taste it.
It did taste funny to me so me go a police station go report har and tell him modda fi come fi him, and from that a pure problem,” he said.
“One time she (Kashief) block her and she (other woman) send threat pon waa strange number and when she add the number on Whatsapp a fi har (previous woman) picture come up,” said a relative.
When quizzed about his whereabouts on the night of the murder, Williams said he left for St Elizabeth the day before Jackson was killed on the invitation of a cousin to do some electrical work.
He added that he was without money when he got the news on Wednesday morning, after several calls to Jackson’s phone went unanswered and he had called a relative to check on her.
Williams explained that he was given bus fare by the principal at the school where he was helping with the electrical work.
He further pointed out that the other woman has a key to his house and he has since told the police about her to bring her in for questioning.
Williams said he has since been questioned by the police as well, and his cellphone turned over to them.
However, when the Sunday Observer contacted Jackson’s sister she said she found it odd that Williams was in St Elizabeth at the time “because is a man weh never yet leave the community, ever”.
Bennett alluded to her sister’s killing being a plan. She mentioned the people she believed to be part of that plan.
In the meantime, residents disclosed that they did not hear anything on Wednesday night, but expressed concern that the girlfriend of Williams’ older brother, who resides in another room at the house, somehow did not hear anything either.
“She say she no hear nothing massa, and from it happen she pack up and lef,” a resident who accompanied the Sunday Observer team to the dwelling said.
“How she no smell the fire weh them start and the people them say them cuda smell it from down ya so?” Williams questioned.
“Police them question har but I don’t know what she and them talk bout,” he further added.
“Is a deep case,” one resident chimed in, adding that “a we affi a force him (Williams) fi eat.”
“It must solve. It cyaa go so. Right now we tense. The whole community tense,” another resident said, adding that no one has been to the house since the gruesome discovery on Wednesday morning and after police investigators left.
“It hurt me cause a the baby them,” another resident stated, adding that she started to cry when she got the news while in Papine.
“Mi feel it fi the mother enuh, but the baby them weh no know nothing — that a wickedness,” she moaned.
When asked how they felt about the love triangle and its outcome, one male resident said: “King Solomon did have 700 wife. The Bible say we fi multiply and be fruitful”.
Another reasoned that life is about balance and “woman fi know themself too”, because “she see the situation and still go deh wid him”.
The Mavis Bank police on Friday said there were no leads as yet, but investigations were ongoing.
Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang issued a statement on that same evening stating that “the deaths go against the fabric of our Jamaican society, and undermines the sanctity of life and the potential of our nation’s youngest and most promising”.
The minister said that the Government will have to intensify its efforts to address the issue of domestic violence, adding that “the JCF will continue to examine the evidence and pursue all leads to bring the perpetrators of this most heinous crime to justice”.