A man who was implicated in the killing of St Andrew car mart owner, Robert Mendez, in 2014, which was captured on CCTV footage, has been sentenced to serve a minimum of 15 years in prison.
John Jarrett, who was not the triggerman, but was charged due to his participation under common design/joint enterprise, last week pleaded guilty to murder and illegal possession of firearm in the Home Circuit Court.
His guilty plea arose from a plea deal that was struck between the prosecution and the defence, which also saw charges of attempted larceny being dropped by the prosecution.
Presiding judge, Justice Vinette Graham-Allen, sentenced Jarrett to 17 years in prison for murder and 15 years for illegal possession of firearm.
Both sentences are to run concurrently.
A statement from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) said Jarrett was ordered by the judge to serve 15 years of his sentence before being eligible for parole consideration.
The murder incident was captured on CCTV in Mendez’s office, and was made available to the crown and defence before the sentencing.
The allegations, as outlined in the statement from the ODPP, are that on April 1, 2014 at about 8:50 am, Jarrett and his former co-accused, Bertram Jenkins, alias ‘Heavy D’, who pleaded guilty to the murder in 2020, went to Payless Motors Limited in St Andrew.
The car mart, which was located off Maxfield Avenue, was owned and operated by Mendez.
“Both (now) accused then went outside with the (now) deceased, where former co-accused, Jenkins, was seen conversing with the (now) deceased,” the statement said.
“Thereafter, all three men returned to the office, where the (now) deceased went into his office with a female customer. Both (now) accused waited outside of the office in the lobby, where Jenkins had a black laptop bag in his possession.
“After the female customer exited the office, the (now) deceased then escorted both (now) accused men into his office to discuss the purchase of a car.
“After about two to three minutes of discussions relating to Jenkins’ purchasing a car, he (Jenkins) took a firearm from his laptop bag and shot the (now) deceased (Mendez) in his head.
“Thereafter, Jenkins stole the (now) deceased’s licenced firearm, which was a 9mm pistol, from his waistband,” the statement added.
It was further reported that Jenkins and Jarrett both left the office, but the latter “returned to (now) deceased’s office and tried to remove a bracelet from the (now) deceased’s (man’s) hand, but was unsuccessful.”
The crown rested its case on the concept of common design.
“… So although accused Jarrett was not the actual shooter, his conduct suggests that he was there to aid and abet/assist Jenkins in the commission of the offence of murder of Robert Mendez,” the ODPP’s statement said.
“In accordance with the law, Jarrett would be criminally liable to be charged, tried and convicted for murder in a similar way to Jenkins who was the actual shooter,” it added.
In providing an explanation for Jarrett’s sentence of 17 years, the ODPP said the judge took into consideration the number of years that the accused Jarrett spent on remand, which was eight years from 2014 to 2022.
“As such, the learned judge used 25 years as her starting point for the offence of murder, less eight years spent in custody, amounting to 17 years,” the ODPP indicated.
Turning to Jenkins, who admitted to the crime in 2020, he was said to have travelled to Canada, and a request for his extradition was made through the DPP’s office, for his return.
He was extradited to Jamaica on August 10, 2015, and was charged on September 29 of that same year.
He eventually pleaded guilty in the Home Circuit Court on March 12, 2020, and was later sentenced to a total of 27 years and seven months behind bars.
Jenkins was ordered to serve 15 years of his sentence before being eligible for parole consideration.