Mentally ill man sentenced to 8 years for murder



Ishaka John, 28, of Sophia, Greater Georgetown, has been sentenced to a minimum of eight years in jail for the murder of 32-Y-O Jason Bowen of Camp Street, Georgetown.


John reportedly killed Bowen at Church Street, Georgetown in 2019.

Dead: Jason Bowen

Along with the jail sentence, which was handed down last Friday, Judge Jo Ann Barlow of the Demerara High Court gave numerous instructions to the Prison Service.


It was required of the Prison Service to carry out John’s mental evaluation and treatment, expose him to skill-training, and arrange for needs-specific counseling sessions.


Crucially, starting in February 2026, John will be hauled before the High Court for a periodic review every two years.


This criminal will be released from detention under the terms the court determines appropriate after the court is satisfied that he is prepared for reintegration into society.


A jury from the Demerara High Court found John guilty of capital murder in November 2023, but they also ruled him to be insane.


On October 12, 2019, at around 21:38 hours, Bowen of Camp Street, Georgetown, was accosted and strangled in front of a building at Church Street, Georgetown.


A security guard said to the police that after witnessing John and the now deceased man fighting, John put a belt around the victim’s neck and strangled him.


After strangling the victim, John attempted to escape, but he was apprehended by public-spirited citizens and turned over to the police. 


John was awaiting trial for Bowen’s murder when he broke out of the Lusignan Prison in December 2020. He was recaptured shortly after.


Attorneys-at-Law Nigel Hughes and Kiswana Jefford represented John in the case, and State Counsel Praneta Seeraj and State Counsel Padma Dubraj handled the prosecution.