By Monique Washington
It took a jury only two hours to convict 26-year-old Reese Walters of the murder of 15-year-old Shante Claxton, who was found dead on the floor of a school bathroom in 2014.
The case had begun on Tuesday, with the prosecution led by Director of Public Prosecution Valston Graham calling 17 witnesses. Both sides ended their submissions on Thursday.
Justice Ermin Moiser gave his submissions on Friday, the jury then took two hours to deliberate and at around midday delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty. Walters has been to Her Majesty’s Prison while he awaits sentencing. He faces a possible punishment of 25 years to life.
On reading of the verdict Walters gave no reaction while the family of Claxton in court began to cry and console each other.
Walters, of Cotton Ground, was charged in September of 2014 with the death of Claxton of Jessup Villages.
Claxton was found laying dead on the bathroom floor of the St. Thomas Primary school hours after she left home to attend church.
Physical evidence was found at the crime scene including DNA from a used condom as well as samples from under the nails of Claxton.
During the case, forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov testified that Claxton’s death was caused by manual strangulation. He noted that this could have only been caused by someone placing their hands around her neck and cutting off her oxygen.
Walters told the police in 2014 that he and Claxton made plans to meet each other at the school at 9am. He said that he arrived at 9:15am and saw Claxton. Walters said that they began talking and then went to the bathroom. He said that the encounter became sexual in nature which led him to put on a condom.
Walters claimed that Claxton began to tremble and fall to the floor. Walters said that he checked for a pulse and listened for a heartbeat but when he didn’t hear one he took off the condom and ran away from the scene.