Family of slain St Thomas couple forgives murderer

Relatives of the elderly Jamaican-Canadian couple who was gruesomely murdered in Retreat, St Thomas, three years ago, say they have forgiven the killer and are thankful that he confessed.

The 29-year-old farmer, Fabian Skervin, who had pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in July, was sentenced to two life sentences on Thursday.

Justice Lorna Shelly Williams, in handing down the sentence in the Home Circuit Court, ordered that the sentences are to run concurrently and that the offender must serve 32 years and four months before being eligible for parole.

Melbourne Flake, 81, and his 70-year-old wife, Etta, were found dead at their vacation home on January 9, 2018. Melbourne was found with head wounds while his wife was said to have been suffocated.

Following the murder, Skervin and his girlfriend, Nekia Thompson, were arrested.

The Seaforth High past student who had been working on the couple’s home confessed to the murder, claiming that demons had led him astray.

In a caution statement to the police, he detailed that he had snuck into the couple’s home with a piece of board and had hidden in their closet until night.

He later attacked the couple in their room and bound their hands and feet.

According to the murder convict, he taped up the wife’s mouth, up to her nose, and left her.

Skervin confessed to hitting the husband in his head with the board before asking him for his debit card PIN and later hitting him several times before he stopped moving.

Following the sentencing, the couple’s daughter, Debbie-Lee Olfert, and Melbourne’s daughter, Ann Marie Titus, said they were both satisfied with the sentence and have no problems forgiving the offender as it is something that they need to do in order to move on with their lives.

“I believe that forgiveness is for me, not for him, and I believe I can certainly forgive him, can absolutely forgive him, because if it weren’t for his confession, we might not have anything,” Olfert said.

Titus also said she could now get closure.

“I feel better today knowing that justice has prevailed because there are a lot of cases in Jamaica in which there is no breakthrough, and I am thanking God that somebody has been held for the murder,” she said.

During the sentencing hearing, Skervin, through his attorney, Anthony Williams, said that he was deeply sorry and wanted the family to know that that he understood their pain and loss.

He also asked the family for forgiveness.

The convict, who, in his social enquiry claimed that he had committed the murder “not of his own will” but due to “certain unnatural forces”, said he made a mistake that he could not correct and hoped that God would lead him to offer the victim’s family recompense.

Williams, during his mitigation plea, said that his client had been wrestling with evil thoughts as he had been hearing voices in his head. He cast the sentence as excessive and indicated that his client would appeal.

But Olfert told The Gleaner that she did not buy Skervin’s claims about demons.

“We are all overcome by - he calls it demons. I call it a conscience. We are all given a conscience. You have the good and you have the bad,” she said.

According to Skervin, he had not initially intended to kill the couple.

Skervin had stolen the couple’s debit card and was caught in video footage making several purchases, including jewellery.

Meanwhile, Thompson had her bail extended to Friday, at which time the court will decide on her case.

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