Four years after 24 year old Kayla Burgess was killed, today the man responsible for her death was sentenced to prison. Vincent Garbutt, better known as Vinnie, was sentenced to eighteen years, but not for murder. He was sentenced for the crime of manslaughter. Burgess was killed on March 20, 2014. Her family who lives in Independence Village had received a text message from her phone demanding a ransom of $250, 000 or she would be killed. The family alerted the police who later found Burgess’ body in Bullet Tree Road inside her Kia Sorrento. She had been strangled. Police later detained Garbutt who police said confessed to the crime. Authorities observed scratches all over his body, found a blood stained towel and pair of slippers inside his house. He also had Burgess’ vehicle keys. Today, Garbutt was sentenced to 18 years behind bars for manslaughter, not murder. Burgess’ family and friends were at the hearing and expressed satisfaction with the ruling.
Friend of the Deceased: “We waited over four year for this to happen. I am one of her lifetime best friends, we’ve been friends since we were four years old. Though it has been extremely emotional for us we are satisfied with the sentencing, we felt that it was fair. Arguably we would say that it wasn’t manslaughter but that it was plain outright murder but we had closure today knowing that he is getting 18 years and hopefully he will get the help that he needs and hopefully the justice system will continue to fight for women who have been abused and murdered.”
Maria Ramclam: “My name is Maria Ramclam and I believe that this was a fair trial today. We all came out to show support for this because you know that in Belize the justice system is not deemed as fair but I would like to say that on behalf of the entire team that is here we are quite pleased because the maximum sentence that the judge mentioned was 20 years and Vinny got 18 for the murder that he committed and so we are pleased with that and we just want to give God thanks for everything. We gave it all to him and I want to tell those families and friends who are waiting a trial or something like this hold on to your faith and trust God because our God is a just God and it will work out for your in the end.”
Crown Counsel Cecil Ramirez prosecuted while Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold represented Garbutt.