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Murder convict’s hanging unlikely

Five years after the first murder convict was sentenced to hang by a judge using discretion, it appears that Maxo Tido will never be executed for the gruesome murder of a teenage girl.

In 2006, the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence was unconstitutional and left the door open for trial judges to determine what sentence to hand down to murder convicts.

Tido’s case was the first to come up after that landmark decision and he was sentenced to death after his conviction.

His appeal against his conviction and sentence is scheduled to be heard by the Privy Council early next month.

But Tido’s execution already appears unlikely because the Privy Council has established that it would be cruel and inhumane to execute anyone who has been under the sentence of death for five years or more.

He was convicted on March 20, 2006 for the 2002 murder of 16-year-old Donnell Conover.

Her partially-burnt body was discovered near a quarry on Cowpen Road on the afternoon of May 1, 2002. According to evidence presented in the case, the cause of death was severe blunt force trauma to the head, resulting in her skull being crushed and part of the skull and brain matter being missing.

In 2009, Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest advised the governor general that,”The case of Maxo Tido was not an appropriate one for the prerogative of mercy to be exercised and that the law should take its course.”

The government planned to read a death warrant to him.

But the ministry was subsequently advised by Tido’s attorneys that they had been instructed to appeal the conviction and death sentence before the Privy Council.

On October 14, 2008, the Court of Appeal dismissed Tido’s appeal against the death sentence and upheld his murder conviction. Tido’s attorneys had contended that the Supreme Court verdict was”unsafe and unsatisfactory”.

The Ministry of National Security advised in 2009 that no further action will be taken in respect to this matter, pending the outcome of the appeal at the Privy Council.

In its 2006 decision in the appeal of Forrester Bowe and Trono Davis, the Privy Council found that the section of The Bahamas Penal Code that requires the sentence of death to be imposed on any defendant convicted of murder should be construed as imposing a discretionary rather than a mandatory sentence of death.

There hasn’t been a hanging in The Bahamas since David Mitchell was executed on January 6, 2000.

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