‘A decent boy’

MONTEGO BAY, St James — As the police prepare to lay additional charges against 25-year-old Ronaldo Ricketts, who has already been slapped with murder charges for the deaths of four homeless people, a family friend has described him as a Christian boy who wanted for nothing. His parents, said the woman who asked not to be identified by name, have been shattered by news of his arrest.

“His parents are decent people; father decent, mother decent. I don’t know why he’s doing this to his parents,” she lamented in an interview with the Jamaica Observer Friday afternoon.

“I know him as a Christian, decent boy. He went to Barracks Road Primary and he then went to Herbert Morrison Technical where he passed a number of subjects,” she added.

Ricketts, who is from Westgate Hills in Montego Bay, was on Saturday charged for the stabbing death of a man and a woman. This came on the heels of him being charged, last Thursday, for killing two other men. Ricketts is also expected to be charged in connection with another murder, as well as the August 30 forceful abduction and attempted rape of a woman. It was during the latter incident that he was nabbed by the police who were escorting a ministerial tour of sections of St James.

The police have laid out details of the murders in which he has so far been implicated. The charges laid on Saturday are for the slaying of 20-year-old Leonardo Lewis — otherwise called Raheem or Ackeem — from Breadfruit Road, Catherine Hall in Montego Bay and a woman whose identity the police still do not know.

According to the police, Lewis was stabbed and injured on August 9. Residents found him about 10:55 pm on Church Lane in Montego Bay and he was taken to hospital. He later succumbed to his injuries.

The body of the woman who remains unidentified was found with stab wounds on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard about 12:15 am on Friday, July 28. She is of dark complexion, slim build, about five feet six inches tall and has black and grey hair. The woman appeared to be in her 60s and was clad in a white blouse and multi-coloured skirt at the time of her death.

The police said Ricketts provided a caution statement to detectives admitting his involvement in several murders in Montego Bay.

Last Thursday he was charged in relation to the death of Mark Thompson following a question-and-answer session in the presence of his lawyer.

Thompson was stabbed to death about 11:45 pm on August 19, 2023 and his body found on St Claver Avenue in Montego Bay. Also on Thursday, Ricketts was charged with murder in relation to the death of another man who was killed on Barnett Street in the western city about 1:15 am on July 28, 2023. That man remains unidentified.

In a September 1 interview with the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Corporate Communications Unit, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson said forensic evidence and technological capabilities had linked a suspect to the killings of five homeless men in St James and that charges were likely to be laid soon. With the additional charges laid against Ricketts on Saturday, there is at least one other killing being investigated.

So too is the Melvin Hall Avenue incident in which he was nabbed. The police were nearby, at Jarrett Park, when they heard a woman’s screams and responded. According to the cops, she had managed to escape from the car of a man holding her at knife point and attempting to rape her. The police took the man into custody, even as he proclaimed his innocence. The woman was whisked away by cops.

The incident temporarily put a tour by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie on hold.