Robbed of her dream

OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Placard aloft and voice raised in calling for justice for her slain daughter, Lavern Morgan thought of what could have been.

Fourteen-year-old Raven Wilson, who was a student at Ocho Rios High School at the time of her gruesome murder, had dreams of becoming a lawyer.

“She never even got the chance to do what she wanted, and she was looking forward to it. I remember she use to save, and when I asked her to borrow it she said, ‘No mommy, is my college money,’ ” her tearful mother told the Jamaica Observer outside the St Ann’s Bay courthouse on Monday.

Reminiscing on the good times she had with her daughter, Lavern Morgan fought to control her tears. For much of the interview, she lost the battle.

“Raven always a smile; put on her little make-up and… that was Raven. I never have a problem with Raven; she always a child that stay indoors, [only going] from school to church and in the house. Only God alone know the pain that I’m going through,” said the mother. “Sometime me sit down and wish to see my daughter coming home,” Morgan said.

As tears welled up in her eyes the distraught mother told the Observer that she has been silent for way too long but she is now crying out for help.

“Somebody have to hear my cry and help me. I have to do it for Raven; it would not be fair to her if I let this go,” said Morgan

She intends to be back at the St Ann’s Bay courthouse on Wednesday, until someone listens.

“I will not stop until I get justice,” the heartbroken mother cried.

Raven’s aunt, Nadine James, who was also among the group of protesters, said she has not been coping well since last Wednesday’s court ruling.

“Raven was everything to us, especially her mother. We have been mourning her for five years and it breaks me down to see that we didn’t get any justice. Raven was a sweet girl. She didn’t get to live any life, and they took her from us,” she said.

“Oh, God, man! I’ve been going to court for five years only to get this? She was my daughter — going to school and they attack her, put her in garbage bag, and still no justice,” Morgan cried on Monday.

On October 21, 2018 the teenager’s body was found in a garbage bag with her throat slashed. According to her mother, Raven left for school but did not return home. A missing person report was filed on October 19, 2018 and a frantic search was carried out in their Top Road, St Ann’s Bay, community.

Two days after, Raven’s school bag was found on premises in the community.

A month later, on November 18, two 15-year-old boys were arrested and charged in connection with Raven’s brutal death. One was charged with murder and the other, accessory after the fact.

Last Wednesday both of the accused men, now 19-year-olds, were freed.

One of the accused, who acted as a witness, under a plea deal with the prosecution had pleaded guilty to the offence of misprision of felony, and gave evidence against the other accused.

Misprision of felony is a crime that occurs when someone knows a felony has been committed but fails to inform the authorities.

In addition, he gave a statement to the police in terms of what he was going to testify, and gave evidence. However, his credibility was found wanting as a result of inconsistencies and contrasting statements. The prosecution was constrained to offer no further evidence, as he was the sole eyewitness.

Justice Dale Palmer sentenced the witness to imprisonment for one year, with the sentence suspended for three years. This means if he commits any offence in the next three years he will have to go to prison for that offence as well as serve the year for the misprision of felony. In essence, he is free unless he commits another offence.