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Murderer has sentence cut by four years

A man who stabbed his estranged girlfriend to death got his 25 year sentence reduced to 21 years by appeal judges.

The judges said it would not be right for Jermaine Pearman to serve 25 years when convicted child killer Ze Selassie only got 28.

Pearman, 38, pleaded guilty in January to murdering 23-year-old Shakeya DeRoza at her home on Paynter Lane, Sandys, in July 2009.

Prison officer Ms DeRoza had two young children; one of them by Pearman. She had recently ended their three-year relationship after a series of violent attacks at his hands.

In January, when he sentenced Pearman to at least 25 years before he can get parole, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said: “In all the circumstances this court finds the defendant to be a dangerous one who must not only be substantially punished for this barbarous murder, but from whom the women of this society must be protected.”

The sentencing hearing was delayed due to a dispute between prosecutor Carrington Mahoney and legally-aided defence lawyer John Perry QC over the facts of the case.

Mr Mahoney told Supreme Court that on the day of the murder, Pearman broke into the victim's home, raped her, and stabbed her multiple times.

Ms DeRoza suffered two wounds to her neck, one of which pierced her jugular vein, and one to her heart as well as a wound to her right hand.

Pearman insisted that Ms DeRoza attacked him during a fight when both of them were armed with knives.

He claimed Ms DeRoza stabbed him in the neck and died when his efforts at self-defence went too far. Pearman denied breaking into her house and raping her.

Sentencing Pearman, Mr Justice Greaves said he did not feel the need for a hearing where witnesses would be called over the disputed facts.

He accepted Pearman entered the victim's home as an intruder and there was “sexual contact of an aggravating nature”.

He rejected the defence suggestion that Ms DeRoza inflicted injuries on Pearman and that he'd not meant to kill her. He said this was “wholly implausible” given the injuries inflicted on her.

However, Mr Perry told the Court of Appeal yesterday that Mr Pearman only pleaded guilty based on the facts as the defence set them out, and should have received a shorter sentence.

He also pointed out that Selassie, who was convicted after a trial in 2009 of the premeditated murder of pregnant teenager Rhianna Moore, got a sentence of 28 years after a successful appeal of his original 35 year term.

The Court of Appeal described the Selassie case as “the worst case of callous premeditated murder” and Mr Perry suggested it was unfair that Pearman only got three years less than Selassie.

Ruling that Pearman should serve 21 years before he can be eligible for parole, Court of Appeal President Edward Zacca said the matters Mr Justice Greaves took into account were considered “properly”.

“We regard this case as one of the worst cases of simple murder,” he said.

However, the judges accepted Mr Perry's point that it was not right that Pearman only got three years less than Selassie.

“Having regard to the period finally imposed in the Selassie case, we hold that a period of 21 years would be appropriate, having regard to the circumstances of this case,” said Mr Justice Zacca.

The time Pearman has spent in prison so far will be knocked off the final sentence. That means if he gets parole after 21 years, he will still be under 60 years old when he is released.

Jermaine Pearman

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Published November 09, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated November 09, 2011 at 8:50 am)

Murderer has sentence cut by four years

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