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Sheba Lenisha Charles on her way to court on May 15, 2023.
Sheba Lenisha Charles on her way to court on May 15, 2023.
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A Vermont woman who was being tried for murder in connection with the 2020 death of an 83-year-old carpenter in Union Island has pleaded guilty to manslaughter. 

On Monday, at High Court No. 2, in Kingstown, Justice Rickie Burnett instructed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty on the murder charge and a verdict of guilty of manslaughter.

The woman, Sheba Charles, 24, was initially indicted on a charge that she murdered Ulric Hutchinson in Ashton, Union Island on Nov. 26, 2020. 

The trial began on April 26 and the court later learnt that Charles had indicated that she wanted to plead guilty to manslaughter. 

The court further heard that the Crown had offered Charles, through her then counsel, the option of pleading to manslaughter, a lesser charge, but this might not have been communicated to her.

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Charles, who had a court-appointed attorney, then told the court that she would like a new counsel and the court appointed Jomo Thomas to represent her. 

On Monday, Thomas told the court that he would need some time to prepare a submission in mitigation on behalf of his client.

The court ordered that a social inquiry report be filed by June 15. 

The defence is to file sentencing submissions and a plea in mitigation by June 29 and prosecuting counsel to file submission by July 6. 

The sentencing is set for July 17 and Charles was remanded in custody until then.

Rose-Ann Richardson represents the Crown in the matter.