Boyfriend cleared of Tasha's murder but found guilty of her manslaughter
A jury decided yesterday that William Leslie Forbes didn't intend to slash his girlfriend's throat during a heated argument at her apartment that turned deadly.
The 36-year-old carpenter was on trial for the January 9, 2012, murder of Natacha "Tasha" Mondelus, but as there was the element of provocation, he was convicted of manslaughter.
The eight-man, four-woman jury took a little over two hours Thursday to find Forbes not guilty of murder, 11-1, but guilty of manslaughter, 11-1.
The court heard how two neighbors and three police officers discovered a wounded and bloodied Mondelus crawling in the doorway of her efficiency apartment on Jack Smith's Corner in Eight Mile Rock.
Her throat had been slit.
As she lay dying, she told police Forbes was responsible and she also drew a "W" on the concrete ground in her blood.
The trial opened in the Supreme Court on Monday.
Doctors revealed 30-year-old Mondelus died within minutes of her left jugular being cut.
Forbes told the court on Wednesday that Mondelus pulled the knife during the argument in which she told him she had given him AIDS and they were both struggling for possession of the knife when she accidentally got cut.
Following the verdict, defense Attorney K. Brian Hanna requested that sentencing be delayed until a probation report be prepared, however, Prosecutor Erica Kemp argued that the Crown didn't see the relevance in having one and was ready to proceed on Tuesday of next week.
"The Crown's opinion is that the probation report is a waste of time, having regard to certain documents," she said.
Hanna then noted there were a lot of other family members and friends of Forbes who wished to express their concern.
Senior Justice Hartman Longley questioned the defense attorney as to whether he was aware of the document the prosecution referred to, but Hanna said he was not.
After it was brought to his attention, the defense attorney revealed he has knowledge of it and, when asked, admitted the document with his client's antecedents were undisputed.
Hanna informed the court that in any event he would not be in a position to proceed on Tuesday and would need more time to be able to provide the court with relevant cases to support his during the sentencing hearing.
Forbes is facing up to 35 years in prison and is expected to learn his fate on Thursday, August 9, 2012.
After the hearing, attorney Hanna said he believed the verdict was justified.
He said: "It was clear that he (Forbes) indicated to this court that both of their hands were on the knife when the knife accidentally cut her throat
"That, within itself will justify a verdict of manslaughter. He was quite clear that the death was accidental and not intentional. That was obvious.
"Once that was satisfied and the jury was convinced that her (Mondelus) death was accidental, or both of their hands were on the knife at the time of the actual cutting, then a verdict of manslaughter would have been reasonable," he said.
But Forbes, he noted, is not settling with the outcome.
"He is adamant that he will exercise his right to appeal. There are a few things that would have transpired during the trial legally that he may stand a good chance of maybe being retried or the conviction being quashed, but we will see what happens at the Appeals Court," said Hanna.
© 2012 The Freeport News