Michael Nattoo – Staff Reporter
Just hours before the words “He’s dead” completely shattered her world, Joan Stennett was introduced to two of her son’s closest friends, one of whom would later be suspected of killing him.
Deceased 20-year-old University of Technology student, Demar Stennett, was to have one last hurrah with his friends before returning to Kingston on Sunday for school. When, however, he did not return home after a night of partying, Joan did not consider that one of the friends, who had, the night before, called her “Mommy”, would literally cut her beloved son’s life short.
Information reaching the Western Mirror is that Demar Stennett’s body was discovered along Miriam Way main road, Barnett Oval, St. James, around 6:15 Sunday morning, suffering from what appeared to be multiple stab wounds.
THE DAY BEFORE
In an emotional interview with the Western Mirror, Joan Stennett revealed the moments leading up to her son’s untimely demise, from when she first met his friends, to the moment she learnt he had been murdered.
After running a few errands in town on Saturday, Stennett instructed her son to meet her at a bank. “When he came there, he came there with two friends. He introduced me to them and I said ‘Hi, how are you?’” Of that brief introduction, Stennett explained, she remembered being familiar with the names of the friends, one in particular.
“The one who later killed him,” a tear-choked Stennett said, “I remembered his name because my son spoke about him to me before – that he had been going through some challenges at home or something like that.”
Stennett further shared that following the introductions, Demar revealed that his friends would be taking him out later that night, as a sort of unwinding before he would need to dive back into his studies as a budding Computer Programmer. “So, following all of that, as well as some other things we had to take care of in town, we all – including the one that killed my son – came back to my house,” the grieving mother explained.
At the Aruba Terrace residence in Cornwall Court, Montego Bay, observing the happenings, Stennett had no reason to suspect that anything tragic would later befall her son. They were watching movies while she, as a belated birthday gift from her son, was getting her hair done. “When I checked the time, it was 1:10 in the morning, so I asked him, ‘Demar, you sure you want to go out this late?’”, Stennett asked, remembering that her son and his friends had plans to go party at Pier 1. “’Mom, this is the time when Pier 1 is hot,’” he responded, before walking over to her and giving her a hug. “He hugged me and said ‘Happy birthday, mom! I love you!’ and the guy got up too and said ‘Happy birthday, mom, happy birthday!’”
Demar then headed out with his friends, and Stennett began making preparations for bed.
‘IT SOUNDS LIKE HE WAS HAVING A GOOD TIME’
“Before falling asleep, I called him,” Stennett shared. “’Mom, we’re at KFC, we’re at KFC!’ he said. It sounds like he was having a great time.” Stennett wanted Demar to get in touch with the person who had done her hair, as she needed to make some adjustments. “’I’ll get in touch with her mom, I will.’ After he told me that,” a crying Joan Stennett said, “I… I went to sleep. I went to sleep.”
Stennett awoke later that morning, sometime after six, and realizing that she hadn’t heard her son, she started to make certain checks. “I looked through the window for the vehicle and it wasn’t there, so I thought, ‘Maybe he’s at his brother’s house’. So, I took some clothes that he had here and put them in the [washing] machine and I said I would wash them because they would dry by the time he’d be ready to go up.” After doing all that, however, Stennett received a call from Demar’s brother, stating that he had met in an accident. “I said ‘Lord Jesus Christ! I talked to Demar, I told him not to drive fast, and Demar really inna accident?”
Conducting investigations of her own, Stennett made a few calls, in which she asked one of the persons called to visit the hospital to check if he was there. Stennett then called Demar’s father, who revealed that he had just heard the news too. Demar’s father later shared that he got a call from the police station, and that he was to come down there. “My neighbour brought me down to the station, and told me that she saw Demar’s friend in handcuffs, so I said ‘What is he doing in handcuffs?’ So, I told my ex-husband that Demar cannot do jail, because the type of person he is, he wouldn’t last in jail, so I started to cry. When I reached the Freeport Police Station, I was told that Demar was not there, and when the person from the hospital called me, I was told he wasn’t there either.’”
At that moment, Stennett witnessed the vehicle in which Demar was travelling being brought into the station on a wrecker, and on it, she observed large quantities of blood, particularly around the driver’s section. “It was all bloodied, and his glasses was inside, and I said ‘No, this nuh look right! Him nuh deh here, and him nuh deh at the hospital. Demar is dead! Demar is dead!’ They tried to tell me to not rush to conclusions and to calm down, but then I got a call from my ex-husband.”
“’Joan,” he said, “’Demar is dead. He is dead.’ I said, “I know. I know,” she shared.
Breaking down crying, Stennett lamented: “Demar was my everything; I could depend on him for anything, and now I… I can’t believe…” Stennett managed to say, before becoming consumed by her grief.
ENCOUNTERING THE SUSPECT
According to the CCU, a police officer and a team of soldiers, conducting patrols under the State of Public Emergency, reached a section of Miriam Way, in the vicinity of the Holy Trinity Church, where they observed a grey MPV Mazda motorcar stationary along the roadway.
When they stopped to make enquiries with the young man who was standing outside the car, they were told that the vehicle had developed mechanical problems and that he was OK. The lawmen were not satisfied with that response, and grew suspicious. When they decided to make further enquiries, the man ran off in bushes, where he was pursued and caught.
Further details are that the accosted suspect then began attacking the police officer, hitting him several times to the face, before he was finally restrained. Taking the suspect back to the vehicle and making closer inspections, security personnel observed what appeared to be blood stains around the vehicle. They were reportedly told by the suspect that he and Demar Stennett had become embroiled in a dispute which became physical, and a knife was brought into play by the deceased. The suspected further alleged that he was acting in self-defense.
He then took the soldiers to a location about 50 metres from the car, where the body of Stennet was pointed out in a clump of bushes along the roadway, lying on its back. Stennett’s body was observed to have multiple stab wounds to its neck, face, arms, chest and abdomen.
He was later removed and brought to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.