Lynched murder suspect had been wanted for several crimes - police

Stabroek News
December 21, 2002

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The life of 16-year-old Marlon Joseph might have been spared if residents of his community had reported the whereabouts of a wanted man for whom a bulletin was issued last month.

The teen was fatally shot in a barber shop on Middle Walk, Buxton, East Coast Demerara early Thursday morning and the wanted man accused of killing him, Syonell Alexander Duke, was lynched behind the village at around noon the same day and set on fire.

He was shot several times in the head and set alight at Company Road and Mud Dam in Buxton. As a result, he could not be positively identified on Thursday.

In a release yesterday, the police confirmed that the alleged killer was Duke for whom the police had issued a wanted bulletin on November 20. At that time, the police said the 23-year-old Duke had committed a series of robberies and was wanted for attempted murder.

They appealed for anyone knowing Duke's whereabouts to contact them, since the man was considered armed and dangerous. But it was not until Joseph was shot dead on Thursday that the authorities finally got their hands on Duke. By that time, he had already been lynched.

The teenager was the latest in a long list of persons to be killed in the village. As yet, there is no clear motive for his murder. Duke was found clad in a white vest and a pair of blue pants under neat coconut branches and pieces of boards which were used to light the fire. According to the police, the man was shot in the back of the head and in the right cheek.

Stabroek News understands that Joseph, who lived in the neighbouring village of Friendship, and was a student of the privately run St Peter's College of the same village, had gone to the barber shop to have his hair trimmed for his school's Christmas party.

His body was discovered shortly after 8 am on Thursday with a single gunshot wound above the left ear.

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