Thu | Mar 30, 2023

Priest’s murder leaves stain on church, says supervisor

Published:Saturday | June 26, 2021 | 12:10 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer

Father Winston Thomas, rector of the St Gabriel’s Church in May Pen, Clarendon, and supervisor for the region where late Anglican Priest Larius Lewis worked, says the circumstances surrounding the priest’s death have tainted the reputation of the church.

The nude body of Lewis, a rector at the St Paul’s Anglican Church in Chapelton, was found with the hands and feet bound and a plastic bag over the head in the rectory on September 25. An autopsy found that he died from suffocation.

Twenty-three-year-old Lloyd Thompson and 20-year-old Tafari Wilson – the two men charged for his murder – were sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday when they appeared before the Clarendon Circuit Court.

While noting that justice was served, Thomas said the church has been left stigmatised.

“You know, because the church has an ethos of upholding principles and the whole homosexuality is certainly against biblical standards which we profess, so it shocked us. I personally never expected that. I never knew of that part of his modus operandi, so it was a shock to me that that had been the evidence of what caused his death,” Thomas said.

He said that the church family is still traumatised over Lewis’ untimely, and tragic demise.

“But we have to live beyond that. We have to put that behind us and move forward and hope that we will be able to have the healing we need to have as a church and move on with our responsibility in proclaiming God’s word to the community and the nation,” Thomas added.

Met on Internet

Thompson, who confessed to Lewis’ murder, and his co-convict were arrested on January 23. The men disclosed that they had met Lewis over the Internet and he invited them to his house pursuant to an agreement. Upon arrival at Lewis’ house however, they had a disagreement and a table was used to hit Lewis in his head.

He fell unconscious and his hands and feet were subsequently tied with a fan cord and a plastic bag placed over his head.

Sentencing judge Justice Dale Palmer described the death of the clergyman as horrendous, noting that he not only died because of the bag tied around his head and neck, but due to the position the men placed him in.

Attorney-at-Law George Clue, who represented Wilson, told The Gleaner that the sentence imposed on his client was fair.

“I believe it was a fair sentence, given the circumstances. I believe the judge weighed everything carefully,” he said.

Thompson will serve a minimum of 21 years before being eligible for parole.