St. John’s Antigua- Jay Marie Chin has been found guilty of the murder of her ex-husband Raymond Chin and the prosecution is seeking the death penalty.
The verdict, on Friday, evoked loud, tearful outbursts from members of Jay Marie’s family, while the convict herself wept quietly into a yellow rag.
Jay Marie was seen crying shortly before the 12-member jury returned to the courtroom and announced its unanimous decision.
As the jury was being directed by the judge on the law as it pertains to the evidence, Jay Marie was seen hiding her eyes and holding her head.
The jury took about three hours to deliberate on the fate of the 34-year-old woman.
Jay Marie was accused of shooting to death her ex-husband on Saturday November 28, 2009.
Crown Counsel Adlai Smith told the court that because the death penalty is being sought, he is requesting that a psychiatric evaluation be done on the convicted woman. A Social Inquiry Report was also requested.
Jay Marie will be sentenced on Friday January 13, 2012. Such a date is referred to as Black Friday.
She was dressed in a white knee-length dress, a white sweater with pink stripes, black shoes and her hair was styled in a bun and adorned with a white ribbon. She was led outside the courtroom to a waiting police vehicle. A young woman identified as her sister following the vehicle screamed loudly, “Oh God Jay.” She was consoled by other family members and later led from the courtyard.
Presiding judge Justice Richard Floyd thanked the jury for their service to the community, which he described as indispensible and integral.
“You (the jury) were attentive …,” Justice Floyd said.
The mother of the deceased, Melvina Watson, who was emotional during this time, spoke to The Daily OBSERVER shortly after the verdict. Watson said she was elated by the jury’s decision.
“Nothing less than that (guilty verdict) could go down. I can’t get back my son but I know justice has been served. God stretches out his right hand in justice,” Watson said with a smile on her face.
Watson was scheduled to testify during the trial. However the defence objected and the court ruled in its favour.
The defence was against the Jamaican woman coming to gave evidence of an alleged threat Jay Marie made against Raymond at her (Watson’s) 50th birthday celebration. Watson reportedly told the police that Jay Marie said if she could not have Raymond no one else would.
Police officers only took the woman’s statement some time in October this year and shortly before the trial. To prevent Jay Marie’s trial being prejudiced by that evidence, Justice Floyd did not permit Weston’s testimony, ruling that the police had ample time to take the mother’s statement and not wait until almost two years after the murder to do so.
During the trial, the prosecution called several witnesses who testified that they saw no one other than Jay Marie Chin leave the store after the shooting. No one ever recalled seeing a man about five feet six inches tall, dressed in a black hoodie run westwards on Church Street.
Jay Marie told the police that she was in the bathroom during the incident. In one instance she told law enforcement officials that she did not hear anything. She also said that she heard nothing and was not looking to hear anything like gunshots or explosions.
The convict gave several contrasting accounts of the incident. She told the 911 emergency operator and Carson “Upper Cut” Matthew that someone came into the store, held her and Raymond at gunpoint and asked for his (the deceased) watch. She said Raymond refused to hand over the piece of jewelry and was shot.
Another account of the matter was that she was in the bathroom playing on her phone and making a bowel movement and heard nothing. A third version is that she went to the bathroom to answer a telephone call. She also reported to family members that she went to the restroom to get wipes to clean her ex-husband’s shoes.
During the trial, Jay Marie cried when Raymond’s fiancé Dionne Bucknor gave evidence about his character and while at the crime scene.
The ex-wife told her attorney that she would not enter the store when the jury went to the scene of the crime. A formal request was later granted by the court to allow her to remain outside.
Evidence from the pathologist of the injuries Raymond sustained did not evoke any emotion from his ex-wife.
Jay Marie has repeatedly denied killing her ex-husband and had told police she has no access to a gun. The murder weapon, a .40 caliber pistol, was never found and no gunshot residue was found on her clothing.
It was, however mentioned during the trial that she had admitted to washing the grey vest and jeans she wore that night. The jury was asked to disregard that statement as no other evidence was led to that issue.
The couple was at the Jay Chin Top Notch Variety Store – a business they co-owned when Raymond was shot 13 times about his hand, abdomen and chest.
He was rushed to the Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) where efforts to save his life failed.
Jay Marie had told police that she saw a man in a hoodie running from the store and later saw Raymond lying on the floor in a pool of blood.
She told the authorities that money was missing from the cash register and the matter was being treated as a robbery until the police received certain leads.
Their attention then turned to Jay Marie, who was arrested and charged with her ex-husband’s murder.