By John Denny Observer Reporter
(Charlestown, Nevis) ” In an 11-to-1 decision, a jury found Warrington Phillip guilty of murdering his wife, Shermell Williams-Phillip. DNA evidence gathered the night of the horrific murder by the lead investigator, Corporal Caines, cinched the case for the prosecution. Mr. Phillip is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 22 following his Nov. 14 conviction. The jury began deliberations just before 4 p.m. Just after 6 p.m., the jury returned with the guilty verdict. A crowd of over 500 waited in the square outside the courthouse for the verdict. Onlookers disbursed quickly after the verdict was announced. Mr. Philip was taken out a back door of the courthouse. Testimonial evidence given during the trial suggests Warrington was hiding in the back seat of her car and ambushed her, plunging a knife countless times into the throat of his estranged wife the night of Feb. 16, 2007. Twenty six witnesses testified in the five-day trial, first painting a picture of physical and emotional abuse through the couple’s marriage and then established opportunity of the murder by placing him and his vehicle near the scene of the crime. Testimony by a DNA expert said cells recovered from the right hand of the accused matched the victim. Shermell was to attend a function the night of her demise at the Four Seasons Resort where she worked. A mother and daughter walking by her house shortly after 7 p.m. saw the hazard lights flashing and the horn was honking. The daughter testified Shermel’s car was shaking. The daughter also testified to seeing Warrington’s red pick up parked around the corner from the victim’s house. Police testimony said where the truck was parked was 225 yards from the murder scene and was in a position to be an easy access to Shermell’s back yard, which was dark and heavily vegetated. Another Brown Hill resident later walked by the house and saw the car’s flashers on. When approaching the gate her dogs met him barking. He snapped his fingers and the dogs quieted. He approached the car to investigate and found the victim’s body. Neighbors said that prior to this the dogs did not bark. Prosecution suggested this was because the dogs knew the assailant. Shermel’s face, arms and shoulder were riddled with nine stab wounds and her throat was laid open with “large, deep, gaping lacerations,” according to District Medical Officer Chandy Jacob, who made the pronouncement of death. Forensic Pathologist Dr. Stephen Jones, who conducted the post mortem on Shermel’s body determined the cause of death to be hemorrhage and shock due to multiple stab wounds and that everything other than the neck wound, would have been less than fatal. The jugular vein and the carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain, were severed. Prosecution asked Dr. Jones if the irregular nature of the larger wound to the throat could have been cause by a serrated blade. Dr. Jones believed the wound was more consistent with a series of many stab wounds to the same area of the neck and considering how fast she would have been losing blood from this injury, unconsciousness and death would have come in little over two minutes. At about 7:45 p.m. on the night of the murder, Warrington was seen at the roundabout at the intersection of Pump Road and the Main Island Road, less than five minutes drive from the murder scene. At about 8:30 p.m. his truck was seen backing out of his drive in Jessup’s. Prosecution suggested he had gone home to clean up and destroy evidence of his crime. A wet chamois was found in his truck and according to testimony from a witness who had seen him earlier in the day, he had changed clothes. He was later spotted at the Sea Spawn bar and was heading back towards Jessup’s when a friend called him and told him his wife had been murdered. Prosecution suggested the trip to the bar was an effort to establish an alibi. He was met by two friends near Four Seasons, who took him to Alexandra Hospital because he was in a state of emotional breakdown. Both friends testified Warrington had told them someone from St. Kitts had threatened to kill him at the Octagon and suggested this unnamed person could possibly be responsible for Shermel’s murder. When Warrington later gave a statement to police, he never mentioned the incident. Prosecution said this story was possibly an attempt to lay blame elsewhere. At the hospital, the attending physician said Warrington had a very elevated pulse rate and blood pressure. He was given an anti anxiety medication and his blood pressure and pulse began to drop. Police later swabbed his hands for DNA and drew blood for testing.