Man convicted of killing waitress released after 28 years in jail

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Convicted killer Alladin Mohammed, right, at one of his art exhibitions. –

CONVICTED killer Alladin Mohammed has been released from prison.

On February 2, Mohammed, of Freeport, was told he was “free to go” after Justice Geoffrey Henderson resentenced him.

Henderson described the killing of waitress Sheila Ramkissoon as “terrible and stupid.”

Mohammed was sentenced to death in 1998 for the murder, and a decade later his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In 2016, there was a petition for his release from jail, as even prison officials have recommended him for an early release.

In keeping with the sentencing guidelines for judges, Henderson began with a starting point of 30 years. He reduced it by five for the steps Mohammed took to deal with his alcohol addiction, his art endeavours – he taught art at the Carrera Convict Prison, exhibited his works and donated his pieces – as well as the various commendations from the prison authorities.

After calculating the time he has spent in prison at 25 years, Henderson said it was “clear that the prisoner has served his time.

“You have paid your dues. But, while you leave (prison) with your life, do not forget someone lost her life.

“You senselessly killed this woman…I know you are remorseful, but you have taken a life you cannot give,” the judge told Mohammed after ordering him released forthwith.

The judge also reminded him to reflect on his actions and become an example to others.

Henderson declared that the prison authorities’ failure to hold four-year reviews as provided for by the prison rules was in breach of Mohammed’s constitutional rights.

Mohammed was represented by attorney Peter Carter. Brandon Sookoo appeared for the State.

Mohammed and his co-accused Ramchand Harripersad were convicted and sentenced to hang on November 2, 1998. His appeals to the Court of Appeal and Privy Council were dismissed. His death sentence was commuted to life in 2008.

In December 2022, Justice Kevin Ramcharan declared that the life sentence imposed on Mohammed in 2008 was unconstitutional and unlawful. He ordered that Mohammed should be resentenced before a judge in the criminal division.

Mohammed and another man had gone to a bazaar in Freeport, where they met Harripersad. At the bazaar, they met Ramkissoon, a waitress at a club in the Freeport area, where they were from.

The four left the bazaar together just before midnight and took her home. Ramkissoon had to pass through a 100-foot-long tunnel to get to her home in Preysal.

As they were about to enter the tunnel, Harripersad, who is now said to be dead, turned to his companions and passed his fingers across his throat.

In the tunnel, he tried to kiss and fondle Ramkissoon. She resisted and he began choking her until she fell to the ground, semi-conscious.

At that point, other people were approaching the tunnel and all three men hid in some tall grass nearby.

When the other people left, they crossed the highway and re-entered the tunnel, where they met Ramkissoon staggering towards them.

Harripersad again held her by the throat and stabbed her in the throat with a broken bottle. Harripersad took off her skirt and as he was about to remove his pants, Mohammed stopped him.

Mohammed held her ankles and Harripersad took her by the wrists and they carried her towards the eastern end of the tunnel.

The three men left together and Mohammed later went to his girlfriend’s home.

He and Harripersad were arrested for Ramkissoon’s murder on July 10, 1996. Harripersad also threatened the other two men that he would get some of his friends “to take care of them” if they squealed on him.