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Jun 20, 2014

Lavern ‘Antichrist’ Longsworth’s murder conviction is reduced

Lavern "Anti Christ" Longsworth

A murder conviction against Lavern “Anti-Christ’’ Longsworth was reduced to manslaughter by the Court of Appeal today.  Longsworth was convicted of the murder of her common-law husband, David White, back on November first, 2012.  She was sentenced to life in prison for dousing White with kerosene and setting him on fire at their Castle Street house on July fifteenth 2010; he died two weeks later at the K.H.M.H.  But last week, new evidence was presented in her case before the Court of Appeal in which experts concluded that at the time her common law was killed, Longsworth was suffering from Battered Women Syndrome.  With the reduction of her conviction, the question now before the court involves how much time Longsworth should spend behind bars. In court this morning, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal, submitted that Longsworth should get ten years, with a deduction of the four years she has already spent behind bars; which would mean that Longsworth would spend another six years in prison.  But her attorneys, Godfrey Smith who was assisted by attorney Leslie Mendez, told the court that given her situation at the time of the killing of her common-law husband, Longsworth has served her time and should be sent home. That decision will be decided next week Friday.  Mendez explains…

 

Leslie Mendez, Attorney

Leslie Mendez

“Well in the circumstances of the case we believe that there are some serious and substantial and numerous mitigating factors in Ms. Longworth’s case which puts it in the realm of an exceptional case which necessitates leniency of the time that we suggested which is in accordance with the time served.”

 

Reporter

“Now you mentioned in there that the mitigating factors includes the fact of her state of mind and that in fact you said there was a falsity of precedence for such a case in Belize. Explain to me your meaning by that, you mean that we don’t really have, I mean we have a lot of battered women in Belize but we don’t have many diagnosed with battered women syndrome?”

 

Attorney

“To our knowledge we know one has been tried in Belize but it only went o the Supreme Court where battered women syndrome was read I don’t know to what extent the syndrome is dealt or is placed before the court in terms of how it is understood, that was in 2008. Apart from that there was one in Trinidad and Tobago so there really is a lot of cases in the region involving battered women syndrome that goes for her mental state but in addition to her mental state we also raise many other mitigating factors apart from just the diminished responsibility.”

 

The fresh evidence adduced by her lead attorney, Godfrey Smith came in the form of affidavits from two experts, Doctor Gillian Mezey, a British based forensic psychiatrist who examined Longsworth on February 21, 2014. Mezey’s expert conclusion was that Longsworth possessed a history and behavior consistent with Battered Women Syndrome and that at the time of the offense, that condition would have affected her perception, judgment, emotional and behavioral control.  Doctor Amy Jex, a local psychologist also shared those views. 

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