‘Snakehead’ gets eight-year prison term for killing reputed wife
Stabroek News – April 22, 2008
Justice Dawn Gregory-Barnes yesterday sentenced a Bagos-town man to eight years imprisonment in the High Court for killing his reputed wife during a domestic spat four years ago.
Anthony Cyrus called “Snakehead” was indicted on the capital offence but he opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter on the opening day of the April assizes, and the prosecution accepted the plea.
Cyrus killed Melanie Hinds during a heated argument on the night of March 21, 2004 at their Bagostown, East Bank Demerara home. He claimed provocation in addition to stating that he had also been wounded during the fight.
In a lengthy plea of mitigation at the sentencing yesterday, Cyrus’s lawyer, Glen Hanoman told the court that his client had been cooperative with the police from the onset and that he made a report at the station. He said Cyrus’s actions were the culmination of a series of provocative acts by his now dead reputed wife.
Hanoman said Cyrus was aware of the unavailability of prosecution witnesses and the reluctance of several witnesses to testify in the trial and yet opted to plead guilty.
He said the accused also chose not to plead self-defence or claim that it was an accident.
“He is aware that he used excessive force in restraining his reputed wife but you have to wonder whether she would not have been facing the court today and not him,” the lawyer added.
In the years since he had been incarcerated, Hanoman said, Cyrus has been a success rehabilitation story in the penal system. He said Cyrus is the leader of the Prisoners of Purpose group and that he has earned many certificates while in prison in the areas of anger management and music, among others and that he has also embraced the Christian faith and was baptised in prison.
He said Cyrus was a first offender who has never had any brushes with the law prior to the murder. Hanoman called for a non-custodial sentence saying that his client has been punished and reformed having spent six jail years in prison.
Justice Gregory-Barnes commended the accused on his reform efforts and stated that the information provided in court yesterday by Hanoman in addition to sworn testimonies from Cyrus’s pastor and Reverend Faye Clarke were useful but pointed out that she could not ignore the evidence in the depositions filed in the case and the post-mortem report.
The judge said there was evidence of blunt force and that the decease received a number of injures in addition to being strangled, which she said, pointed to a certain level of cruelty.
State Counsel Dionne McCammon was the prosecutor.