Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fugitive escapes death penalty

What was shaping up to be a diplomatic row between the US and Jamaican governments has been quelled after US prosecutors in Tampa, Florida, promised not to seek the death penalty for a Jamaican fugitive wanted in the US for multiple killings.

Davion Parson, 19, is wanted by US prosecutors for a triple killing at a Tampa nightclub in Florida.

He was looking at the death penalty if convicted.

But the Jamaican government, through the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), had sought a commitment from the US government that it will not seek the ultimate punishment for Parson.

According to the DPP's office it wanted the undertaking before proceeding with the extradition.

The US prosecutors yielded to the request this month, thus clearing a major hurdle in the matter.

Under the extradition treaty, the Jamaican government can refuse to release Parson if the US government insists that he face the death penalty.

Parson is wanted in Central Florida for the May 24 shooting death of three people in the Thunderbird Bar in Tampa.

He is accused of killing reggae DJ's Antone Neely, Michael Rattigan, and their friend Kevin Webster in an act of revenge.

Rattigan and Neely were part of a local reggae DJ group called "Poison Dart" that was performing at the club when the shooting happened.

Detectives say the shootings were a carry-over from an earlier fight.

After the attack, detectives say a relative paid for a cab to take Parson to Orlando International Airport, where he boarded a flight that took him to Miami, then Montego Bay.

He was captured in June by members of the Fugitive Apprehension Team during an operation in Kingston.

Parson appeared in court Friday were the extradition case against him was mentioned.

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