Friday, April 06, 2007

Men jailed for using teen's head as a bowling ball

Article from: AAP

  • Two men jailed for life over teen's murder
  • Men used teen's head as a bowling ball
  • Judge says it was the worst case she ever heard

TWO men have been jailed for life for the brutal slaying of a homeless teenager who was stabbed 133 times and decapitated before his head was used as a bowling ball.

After six hours of deliberations, a Brisbane Supreme Court jury this afternoon found James Patrick Roughan, 27, and Christopher Clark Jones, 23, guilty of the gruesome murder of 17-year-old Morgan Jay Shepherd (known as Jay) on March 29, 2005.

The pair, both from Sandgate, north of Brisbane, had already pleaded guilty to interfering with a corpse.

During the trial of almost three weeks, the court was told police found Jay's headless body buried in a shallow grave in Dayboro, north of Brisbane, following an anonymous tip-off only days after he died.

The jury heard Jay, who was a resident of a Brisbane youth hostel, had been drinking with both the accused at Roughan's home before a fight broke out.

Prosecutor Don McKenzie said a post-mortem examination revealed Jay had been stabbed 133 times and his head had been cut off by either an axe, saw or knife.

Police found a tomahawk, knife, handsaw and pruning saw stained with the victim's blood in Roughan's shed, as well as blood-stained clothing containing Jones' DNA.

Witnesses testified Jones told friends about the murder and how Roughan had used Jay's head as a bowling ball and a puppet.

Jones smirked as his guilty verdict was delivered but later read out a note he had penned to the court apologising for his involvement in the murder.

"I am truly sorry for what happened to Jay and until the day I die I will always regret my involvement in this matter," he said.

"As a father, I don't know how I could cope with it."

Worst case ever heard

Justice Roslyn Atkinson deplored the offence, saying it was the worst case she had ever heard.

"It's hard to describe adequately the horror of the crime that you were both involved in," she told the men, who sat at opposite ends of the dock, separated by a security guard.

"Certainly I have had no experience of a murder so horrible.

"It was a murder completely without motive, which visited the most horrific violence on a 17-year-old boy who obviously had done nothing to deserve it."

The men have each served 732 days in pre-sentence custody.

ANALYSIS - I'm not sure if this is social commentary on Australia, English speaking people or just the primordial history of man oozing out from time to time. Fair or not, they say a man is judged by the worst thing he ever did and all goodness can be erased by one act.

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