Yesterday, Hindus and the general population of T&T celebrated the Hindu festival of Divali with a public holiday.
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Wife-killer to hang
Shawn Marcelline was sentenced to death by hanging yesterday after a jury in the San Fernando High Court found him guilty of murdering his common-law wife 11 years ago. It took the 12-member jury just under three hours to agree on the verdict against the 45-year-old Princes Town man, who was accused of stabbing his wife of 16 years, Juliet Cummings, 19 times. She died on August 2, 2003 at the Nipdec car park, Princes Town, where the New Grant maxi taxi stand was situated.
Asked if he had anything to say before he was sentenced, Marcelline remained silent. He and his wife lived with their four children on the ground floor of his mother-in-law’s house at Monkey Town, New Grant. They separated in May 2003 after he confronted her about allegations she was having an affair which resulted in an altercation. The police were called and he left with them.
In her evidence, presented by state attorney Trevor Jones before Justice Norton Jack in the Second Assizes, the jury heard that Cummings took out a restraining order against him which was subsequently dismissed. She also took him to court for child maintenance. Marcelline, who opted to give evidence, wept in court, claiming he remembered scuffling with Cummings in the maxi taxi but not what happened after.
Maxi taxi driver Roger Jitta testified he heard Cummings telling someone repeatedly as she entered his maxi not to follow her. Jitta said a man came in and sat close to her and there was an exchange of words. He felt the maxi rocking and when he looked around he saw the man, whom he could not identify, cuffing Cummings. Jitta said he only realised that the man had a knife when he saw him stab her in the eye. The other passengers ran out of the maxi and despite the large crowd gathered, no one came to Cummings’ assistance.
The man then dragged her out of the maxi. Jitta, who was trying to call the police, said the next thing he saw was the man kneeling next to Cummings before he ran off. In an interview with the police, Marcelline also claimed he could not remember what happened but recalled seeing Cummings in Princes Town and said she told him he would ”make jail until he dead.”
In his evidence, Marcelline said after the separation Cummings did not allow him to see his children. He said when he met her on the maxi stand he again asked to see the children and asked why she had him in court for child maintenance when he took care of them. Marcelline admitted he followed her into the maxi, she started quarrelling with him and he got up to leave. He claimed she slapped him, they began scuffling and that was all he could remember. The next day his sister told him he had killed Cummings.
He was arrested by Insp Fitzgerald George at his sister’s Princes Town home and charged by Supt Steven Maynard. Some 16 state witnesses testified. Marcelline, who was represented by attorney El Farouk Hosein, instructed by Annalee Girwar, did not call any witnesses. None of Cummings’ relatives were in court.