Saturday 26 September, 2020

Man accused of killing 16-y-o changes plea, now says he's not guilty

A St Elizabeth man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, in relation to the stabbing death of a 16-year-old girl three years ago, changed his plea to not guilty during his sentencing hearing on Friday. 

Horatio Bruce, alias Prento, of Malvern in the parish, said he was frustrated and was urged by his attorneys to plead guilty to the charge, which he now claims he knew nothing about. 

Bruce had initially pleaded guilty on Monday, November 25 when he appeared before the St Elizabeth Circuit Court. 

He was initially charged with the murder of Sherika Roberts of Newcombe Valley in St Elizabeth.

On Friday, the drama unfolded in court when it was heard in a social enquiry report that Bruce told the probation officer that frustration led him to plea guilty and he denied killing the teen. Surprisingly, he also suggested that his attorneys encouraged him to offer the guilty plea. 

But his attorneys swiftly denied that assertion and have since removed themselves from the case. 

In light of the dramatic developments, presiding High Court judge, Justice Chester Stamp ordered that legal aid representation be secured for Bruce by his next court date of March 9, 2020.

The case will also be mentioned at that time.

Allegations are that on September 12, 2016, the teen was at home in Newcombe Valley, when she was called out by Bruce who she had a relationship with.

The teen allegedly told Bruce that their relationship was over and, during an argument, he used a knife to stab her in the neck, chin and left foot.

The teen allegedly told family members the identity of her killer before she died.

Following a probe by the police, Bruce was arrested and charged. 

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