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Killers’ of Chinese couple given minimum of 53 years in jail before seeking parole

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Chief Justice Albert Palmer has imposed a minimum term of fifty-three (53) years each, to be served before which parole may be sought— for the two who killed a Chinese couple at Town Ground in 2017.

Palmer imposed the sentence of life imprisonment for each prisoner, Jimson Erega Goufi and Raymond Keota for the murder of the Chinese couple, Lao Gongzhen and Wu Yuegui, in his ruling yesterday.

The prisoners, Goufi and Keota were convicted on 6 September 2018 of the double murder of Chinese couple, Gongzhen and his wife Yuegui, and commenced serving their mandatory sentence of a life imprisonment therewith.

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The prosecution has sought the high court for its determination on the minimum sentence to be served before parole, as now required by recent changes to the law, on the imposition of a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for murder.

The couple were killed over the Easter period in 2017 and their bodies only discovered at their shop days later.

He added: “I am satisfied this case falls within the “very serious or most serious cases” category. I have indicated that this is one of those extremely rare cases in which the attack involving the use of a weapon was pre-planned and the killing pre-meditated.”

In his ruling, Palmer said: “I am also satisfied the following aggravating features relating to both offenders were present in this case. (1) Their age; these are mature men, not youths, aged respectfully at the time of commission of crime at about 24 and 45 years. (2) The lack of remorse and acceptance of guilt demonstrated throughout.”

He said they took time to carefully think through and plan what they were going to do and they knew what was going to happen and on the day sought to implement it with calculated ferocity and viciousness.

“After killing the husband, they did not stop there but proceeded also to kill the wife when she ran out from the kitchen to see what was happening. For the reasons given, I would set a starting point of fifty (50) years. For the additional aggravating features, increase the sentence by five (5) years, and reduce the term through mitigation, (no previous convictions), that they are both first time offenders, by a period of two (2) years. The minimum term to be served by each prisoner therefore is fifty-three (53) years. I direct that this term to commence from the time both prisoners were remanded in prison for this offence. They have a right of appeal if aggrieved by the minimum term imposed,” Palmer said.

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