KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sunday February 22, 2015, CMC – A 37-year-old fashion designer and photo studio operator who pleaded guilty to murdering 14-year-old schoolgirl Santoya Campbell, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Cornelius Robinson was told by the Westmoreland Circuit Court that he would become eligible for parole after he spends 25 years behind bars.
The body of the schoolgirl was found in garbage bags under a bridge, near a river close to the Frome Technical High School, where she was a grade eight student on January 27.
Robinson turned himself over to the police two days after her body was discovered.
In court, he broke down, apologising to the family of the school girl.
The court heard that Robinson, who had no previous conviction, admitted to the police and the probation officer that he knew Santoya, who lived in the same community as himself, since she was attending primary school and that her mother asked him to assist her with lunch money, to which he agreed.
Robinson claimed that the young schoolgirl, who used to visit his photo studio, started to make sexual advances on him to which he finally yielded once between late September and October 2014.
He also claimed that he was blackmailed by Santoya who started to make demands, including that he buy her a smartphone, to which he agreed.
Robinson said that before Santoya went to school on the morning of January 26, she visited his business where she aggressively demanded J$6,000 (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) to purchase the cellular phone.
He said he told her he did not have the money and she threatened to report their relationship to her mother and his wife.
Robinson said that it was at that time he became frustrated and held the girl from behind and strangled her to death.
He confessed that he hid the corpse in a back room of his business and later in the night dumped it under the bridge.