Close to three months after a 12-member Jury found former civil servant Mitchel ‘Mitch’ Israel guilty of murdering his wife Arianna Taylor-Israel, his lawyer Dr. Linton Lewis maintains that it was an accident.
In his written and oral sentencing submissions, Lewis maintained that Taylor-Israel was the aggressor and it was not his client’s intention to kill her.
“He was provoked by Arianna Israel who hit him with a cellular phone, and she made other attempts to hit him. Arianna Israel was the aggressor. That was not challenged. The evidence given by the Prosecution witnesses is that there was a struggle, but none of them saw how it started,” Lewis stated in his written submissions, basically reiterating his closing arguments at the trial.
“The evidence did not show an intention by Mitch Israel to kill his wife. His presence at the schoolyard was to pick up his children as he usually did. He usually carries his firearm with him in public, even though it is concealed,” Lewis added.
“The evidence is that Arianna Israel sustained gunshot wounds during a struggle, with both of them tugging and pulling the gun which was discharged in the process. Mitch Israel never intended to kill Arianna Israel,” the lawyer continued. He made similar arguments in his oral submissions on October 13.
Lewis submitted that the fact that the offense was committed in the presence of children at the school compound was fortuitous. He contended that in accordance with the practice directions, the only aggravating factors that can be considered relevant were where the offense was committed in the presence of children and at, or near a religious or educational institution. He argued that the offense was not committed in view of the public, and therefore this should not be given any consideration as an aggravating factor.
Lewis also argued that there was no evidence presented in Court that Israel was charged with using threats to his wife.
In handing down the penalty on Monday, Justice Rickie Burnett said that Israel was found guilty of murder and that the Jury rejected accident, self-defense, and provocation, and in sentencing, the Court had to stand by that.
Israel was sentenced to 38 years in prison.
SOURCE :THE VINCENTIAN