Two accused in Professor Mars’s killing change plea to guilty

Paul Chance and Andre Benjamin—the two men who were on trial for killing 75-year-old Professor Pariedeau ‘Perry’ Mars– have changed their ‘not guilty’ plea to ‘guilty.’

Upon their indictment last week at the Demerara High Court, the two men, both age 21, had pleaded not guilty to a joint charge for the capital offence of murder before Justice Sandil Kissoon.

They, however, made another court appearance on Tuesday during which they both opted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. They thereby admitted to unlawfully killing the pensioner in May 2016.

Attorneys-at-Law Ronald Daniels and Kiswana Jefford are appearing for Chance and Benjamin. Senior State Counsel Abigail Gibbs is appearing for the prosecution.

Considering their guilty pleas, the Judge directed the jury to return formal verdicts of guilty on the lesser count for both men. The two confessed killers will be sentenced on June 9 at 15:00hrs.

Back in 2019, 21-year-old Naomi Adams, 23-year-old Nikisha Dover, and 22-year-old Orin McRae were arraigned before Justice Navindra Singh for Professor Mars’ murder.

They, however, opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter. Adams, the first to confess to the crime, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, while her co-accused Dover and McRae were each sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Police Headquarters had said that Mars was found dead with his hands and feet duct-taped and injuries to his head at his Prashad Nagar, Georgetown home on May 12, 2016. It was reported that his home was ransacked, and several items and cash were missing.

According to reports, Dover would frequently visit Mars’s home. On the day in question, she visited his home and allowed her friends into the house. This was done after they had hatched a plot to rob the elderly man.

Police officers recovered a sum of cash, a laptop computer, an iPhone and game console in their possession after they were arrested. Mars was found by his wife on her return home from Linden, Region 10. He was rushed to a private city hospital where he died while receiving medical attention.

His cause of death was given as asphyxiation due to manual strangulation compounded by multiple blunt trauma.