Wife kills husband for selling limes to buy cocaine
Judge orders probation report
Stabroek News
October 31, 2001

Justice Winston Moore yesterday ordered a probation report on the accused in the Kiltern manslaughter trial after listening to the mitigation pleas from her lawyer, Mursaline Bacchus.

Indicted is Denise Soloman, who was previously charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser count, which was accepted by the state.

State Prosecutor, Paula Gilford, in her presentation, stated that on August 17, 2000 the accused was heard by relatives of the deceased saying she "will go to jail for something now," while the deceased was heard saying "O God, Daddy! I gon dead, Denise stab me."

Gilford further stated that Raymond Ross sustained penetrative stab wounds in the pericardium and the lower lobe of the right lung, with laceration to the right internal jugular vein. The cause of death was recorded as haemorrhage and shock and stab wound to the heart.

Gilford noted that in the caution statement to the police, the accused said that she had been involved in a common-law relationship with Ross for 12 years, during which time he used cocaine and would physically abuse her.

The accused said that at about 1800 hrs on the day in question, she returned home and her young son related to her that his father had sold some of her limes and bought cocaine, which he used in the house. An altercation ensued between them, and the deceased took a roller (a contraption of two pieces of wood between wheels, with nails added) and dealt her several blows. She said she retaliated by retrieving the wooden weapon from him and giving him the fatal blow.

However, the prosecutor referred the court to the evidence of the son at the preliminary inquiry, where he stated that his mother took a knife and stabbed his father, and concluded that the knife injury was more consistent with the post mortem report. She quoted from the child's evidence-in-chief thus: "My father had taken mummy's limes to buy cocaine, which he smoked at the house. I told my mother when she came home, and they began to quarrel. Daddy lashed mummy with a roller and mummy took a knife and bore daddy chest."

In mitigation, Bacchus argued that a plea of guilty did not mean that the defence accepted all the facts presented by the prosecution. He said that there was no doubt that the accused was grossly provoked as she had been beaten prior to the unfortunate incident.

He referred to the statement given by Detective Corporal Andrew Warde at an earlier hearing, which revealed that the top portion of the roller appeared to have bloodstains. The evidence of Nicole Ross, sister of the deceased, revealed that she saw the accused running in front of the deceased who was pursuing her. Another sister, Marian Ross stated that her brother had been unemployed over a year. The lawyer noted that his client, whose role was wife, mother and sole breadwinner, was frustrated by the drug habit of the deceased. And though the act was not excusable, she had been backed into a corner to react.

Bacchus stated that the 32-year-old woman had been in custody since the incident and deprived of her children. He said she regretted the unfortunate incident, and had asked him as her lawyer not to subject him to cross-examination.

After listening to the submission and mitigation, Justice Moore questioned whether any relatives of the deceased were present. Ross's father responded and was asked whether he knew his son used an illegal drug and was unemployed. He responded that he was not aware that his 33-year-old child used a prohibited narcotic. But he responded that his son was employed at the time of the incident.

The judge then ordered a probation report, which will be presented on November 6.

Earlier, the judge expressed gratitude to the jurors for exhibiting much patience and understanding during the two weeks of industrial action by the state prosecutors.