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Friday, April 18, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Wife gets 20 years jail
T&T national Doreen Alexander, the common-law wife of murdered US soldier Balram “Balo” Maharaj, was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in jail for her role in his 2005 kidnapping. A statement released yesterday by the US Department of Justice said Alexander, who was extradited to the US on March 31, pleaded guilty on October 3 to conspiracy to commit hostage-taking. This was a lesser offence included under count one of the indictment, which charged conspiracy to commit hostage taking that resulted in death.
Alexander, 47, of Arima, was sentenced by US District Judge Emmet G Sullivan in the District of Columbia. Sullivan also sentenced Alexander to serve five years of supervised release to follow her prison term. Alexander was the last charged co-conspirator involved in the kidnapping of Maharaj. T&T nationals Zion Clarke, Kevon Demerieux, Wayne Pierre, Ricardo De Four, Anderson Straker, Christopher Sealey and Kevin Nixon were all found guilty and have been sentenced to life in prison in the US.
The seven filed motions after the convictions, seeking a new trial or total freedom. Russell Joseph, Wayne Gittens and former soldier Jason Percival were all state witnesses and a fourth man, David Suchit, were freed in 2007. According to court documents, Alexander initiated the April 2005 kidnapping of Maharaj and provided information that allowed the kidnappers to identify, locate and track Maharaj.
Alexander alerted the kidnappers to Maharaj’s visits to T&T; gave them information on his wealth, which was used to calculate the ransom, and reassured the kidnappers they had the right man after the ransom negotiations went awry. Maharaj died as a result of the kidnapping. They were accused of holding Maharaj hostage, which resulted in his death. Maharaj, 62, a Trinidadian, was kidnapped on April 6, 2005, from the Samaan Tree Bar, Aranguez, and detained in the Santa Cruz forest.
Relatives received demands for a $3 million ransom for his safe release but Maharaj died while in captivity and no ransom was paid. His remains were found in two containers in the Santa Cruz forest on January 8, 2006.
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