A manslaughter conviction was substituted for her murder conviction, and she was sentenced to 8 years
Lavern “Anti-Christ” Longsworth, 40, who was convicted of the murder of her common-law husband, David White, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment today after the Court of Appeal reduced her murder conviction to manslaughter and set aside the life sentence she was serving.
Longsworth has spent almost four years in prison and that will be deducted from her sentence, leaving her with four and a half more years to serve before she is released from prison.
Her successful appeal is also precedent-setting, because the court has accepted her attorney’s argument that when she doused White with kerosene and set him ablaze, she was suffering from what the expert forensic psychiatrists have characterized as “battered woman’s syndrome,” and as such, her responsibility in law was diminished.
Longsworth’s attorneys, Godfrey Smith, SC, and Leslie Mendez, presented the sworn affidavit of British forensic psychiatrist Doctor Gillian Mezey, who examined Longsworth last February. She was also examined by Belizean psychologist Dr. Amy Jex, whose findings complemented Dr. Mezey’s.
Longsworth was supposed to be sentenced last Friday, but the court adjourned her sentence so that the Appeal Justices could determine what would be a fair sentence, given the extraordinary circumstances of her case.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lynn Vidal, had opposed Longsworth’s attorneys’ suggestion that she be released on the time already served, and suggested that a 10-year sentence would be fair.
In imposing the 8-year sentence, the court appears to have found a middle ground between the DPP’s 10-year submission and Longsworth’s attorneys’ position.
Mendez told reporters outside of court that, “Miss Lavern will at most serve around approximately four and a half years because the court stated that it will take into account the time that she has already served.”
“Well, we are content with the verdict; we definitely do believe that justice was served, as the court did clearly take into account the mitigating circumstances in Miss Lavern’s case. And so we are grateful that they showed some mercy and leniency on Miss Lavern,” Mendez explained.
On the night of July 16, 2010, Lavern Longsworth and her common-law husband, David White, got into a domestic dispute at their Castle Street home. Longsworth doused White with kerosene and set him on fire. She put out the fire herself. White, who was burned over most of his body, ran down the street and collapsed. He was hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.
Shortly after the incident, police arrested and charged Longsworth for attempted murder. That charge, however, was upgraded to murder when White succumbed to his injuries.
Longsworth went on trial for the murder before Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas in October 2010, and a jury returned with a guilty of murder verdict. In November 2012, Justice Lucas sentenced Longsworth to life in prison.