No death penalty: though “horrific and gruesome”, killing does not represent “worst of the worst“
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Supreme Court Judge has sentenced 34-year-old Allister Williams to 55 years in prison for the September 2016 murder and robbery of Marisha Bowen, a 35-year-old pregnant school teacher.
In her written ruling, Justice Carolita Bethel said: “While the offence of murder in any case is serious, the murder committed in these circumstances was an extremely gruesome and callous one.
“Marisha Bowen struggled for her life while it was undeservingly sifted away from her.”
Bethel indicated that the court was not minded to give Williams the death penalty.
“In these circumstances, the court takes the view that the facts of the case, though horrific and gruesome, do not represent the ‘worst of the worst’, nor are they parallel to the most ‘extreme and exceptional case,'” the ruling read.
Bethel said the court does not consider that there has been some drastic change in the life of Williams that would make a lifetime sentence unduly harsh.
Showing similarities to a 2013 case where life imprisonment was given, Bethel noted that based on the evidence there was no motive behind the murder and called Williams “non-remorseful”.
She indicated that Williams’ probation report did not depict him having “any morsel of a good character”.
“The offences of murder and robbery are both serious and grave within themselves to require a long sentence,” the Supreme Court judge said.
“The history and character of the convict above illustrate that he is likely to commit offenses of the same manner in the future.
“Lastly, it is axiomatic that these offenses detrimentally affected others such as the family of the deceased and the public at large.”
The ruling read: “The court, having taken all the circumstances discussed above, hereby sentences the convict Allister Williams, bearing in mind his age — he is now 34 years old — to a term of 55 years’ imprisonment of the court of murder.”
Williams has spent two years in custody prior to conviction, and those years will be deducted from his term.
Police officers discovered the naked body of Bowen in her blood-soaked bed with injuries to her neck and a belt wrapped around it on September 9, 2016.
Officers later learned that Bowen was in the first trimester of pregnancy at the time of her death.
On May 24, 2018, by a unanimous verdict, Williams was found guilty of the murder and robbery of Bowen.
Court evidence revealed that Williams’ DNA was “found in blood near the bedroom door of the house, in semen in the victim’s vagina and under her fingernails”.
Evidence presented by the medical examiner revealed that six stab wounds along with asphyxia led to her death, as a belt was used to strangle her while she was alive.
Additionally, there were other abrasions on her body that likely represented a struggle between her and the accused.
When Williams was found by the police, he had in his possession an iPod and two Samsung phones — one belonging to the victim and the other to her son, whom she had spoken to just hours before.
Williams blamed another unidentified person for Bowen’s murder but placed himself at the scene of the crime.
He also blamed an unidentified person for giving him the phones.
Williams had previous convictions of possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply, threats of death and assault with a dangerous instrument, and committed the offences months after he was released from prison.
His psychiatric report, conducted by Dr John Babington Bates Dillet, indicated that he did “not meet the criteria for any formal psychiatric disorder currently”.
The report read: “He maintains his innocence of not being involved in this crime and as such takes no responsibility for the act. He expresses sorrow that a life was taken but is not remorseful as he maintains his innocence.”