Tyrone Pedro *File photo
Tyrone Pedro *File photo

“If there is one message I can send today, it is that parents have to do everything in their power to avoid their children becoming involved with alcohol and drugs at an early age.”

This from Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons during the sentencing hearing of Tyrone Pedro, who had admitted the manslaughter of Steven Jireh Iris.

Mr Iris died after being stabbed outside Pedro’s Glebe Road home on the morning of August 23 last year. 

Initially charged with murder, Pedro pled guilty to the lesser charge on March 18.

Justice Simmons sent the warning to parents as she reflected on the findings in Pedro’s social inquiry report. It revealed he was an intelligent young man who was well liked by his employers and that he’d starting smoking marijuana and consuming alcohol at the age of 14.

Appearing on behalf of the Crown, Prosecutor Maria Sofianos told the court that Pedro and the deceased were friends at the time of the incident. Mr. Iris was released from jail on August 21. The men went out with friends with Mr Iris spending the night at Pedro’s Pembroke home on August 22.

According to Ms Sofianos, on the morning of August 23, Pedro’s sister heard cursing come from his apartment and then heard her brother shouting for her to call an ambulance. By then, Mr Iris was seen lying on the ground. A garbage collector who was nearby tried to provide assistance to Mr Iris — who was bleeding profusely from the abdomen — and eventually helped Pedro and his sister’s boyfriend get Iris into a car. Pedro then drove his friend to the Emergency Department of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

Remaining at the hospital for no longer than five minutes, Pedro and his sister’s boyfriend then drove to the Ord Road home of Kenny Rawlins, after calling him and sounding, according to Mr. Rawlins, anxious and upset and told him: “The guy kept coming after me with a bat.” Mr Rawlins then called Police. By the time they arrived at his home, Pedro was crying. Mr. Iris was pronounced dead at 4:40pm the same day as a result of a stab wound to his abdomen and damage to his main artery.

Justice Simmons also heard that when questioned by Police Pedro exercised his right not to say anything to Police, with Ms Sofianos suggesting a custodial sentence of six years.

Representing Pedro, Larry Mussenden said the two men were good friends, like brothers and Pedro had been awakened by Mr Iris who was slapping and hitting him. He said Pedro tried to get away from an aggressive Mr. Iris but the deceased pursued him into kitchen before the stabbing. The murder weapon has never been found. As he asked Justice Simmons to show mercy for his client, Mr. Mussenden asked for a sentence of no longer than five to six years be meted out.

As he addressed the Iris family, Pedro said he’d read their victim impact statements, which the family requested not be read in open court, and said it was heartbreaking to do so. Describing Iris as “like a brother to me”, Pedro expressed his remorse and said he had no intention of hurting him and said it was a burden that he would have to bear.

“I hope that you can forgive me,” he concluded, as Mr. Iris’ mother sobbed loudly.

As she handed Pedro a six-year sentence, Justice Simmons said she took into consideration his guilty plea, a degree of provocation from Mr. Iris and the fact that he rushed his friend to the hospital. Pedro’s time spent in custody will also be taken into consideration.

She also expressed her sympathy to the Iris family.