Dominican convicted for Satanic Ritual Murder released
More than a decade after 23-year-old Barbadian Corey Poleon was the victim in a bizarre case that involved satanic ritual and a “cold, callous, brutal” slaying, a High Court judge allowed the man who killed him to walk free, imposing the time he spent behind bars so far as his sentence.
Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts on Friday released “with immediate effect to time spent”, Sherman Randolph Webb, who had previously been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of University of the West Indies (UWI) student who was his “friend”, sometime between August 31, 2009, and March 18, 2010.
Webb, a resident of Kings Hill, just east of the capital Roseau, was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to life in prison, but on appeal against the sentence he was granted a retrial by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) and he pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter nine months ago.
“I sentence you for the offence of manslaughter of Corey Poleon, contrary to the Offence Against the Persons Act Chapter 1031 of the Dominica Revised Laws 1990 to time served. You are hereby released from the Dominica State Prison with immediate effect to time spent,” Justice Adrien-Roberts said on Friday.
During his trial 10 years ago, the court heard that Webb killed Poleon, who visited him after the two met on the Internet, in the community of Elms Hall in east Roseau.
Poleon’s family had reported him missing after he did not return to Barbados. His remains were later found beneath the floorboards of a small wooden house in River Claire, Elms Hall, where, it was revealed, Webb had taken him and “chopped him on both sides of his neck”, causing him to bleed to death.
Webb had maintained his innocence, claiming that Poleon came to visit him in August 2009 to conduct an “occult ceremony which involved the summoning of a demon” that would allow the Barbadian to receive his own guardian spirit.
He told the court that Poleon had returned to Dominica after an initial visit. Two days after his arrival, they went to the house in Elms Hall to conduct the ceremony.
Justice Bernie Stephenson, who had sentenced Webb to life behind bars, described the facts of the case as “unusual and unfortunate and bizarre”.
She described Poleon’s killing as “cold, callous, brutal, calculated and heinous” and said the court needed to send a strong message to society that such acts would not be tolerated.
In his appeal against the sentence, Webb argued he had acted in self-defence and the Appeal Court concluded that the High Court judge did not properly put to the jury the issue of self-defence.
In May last year, Webb appeared before Justice Adrien-Roberts on a manslaughter charge and pleaded guilty.