Updated at 8pm with comment from Brown’s family
A Kenyan man on trial for killing an American teacher in Qatar has been convicted of murder by a lower criminal court in Doha.
Reading the guilty verdict this morning, the judge ordered Alvine Moseti Anyona to serve a life sentence in Qatar, which is technically 15 to 20 years. He will then be deported.
Jennifer Brown, a 40-year-old teacher who worked at the English Modern School in Al Wakrah, was killed two months after moving to Qatar, in November 2012.
Her body was found in her Al Sadd apartment, where she and several fellow teachers lived.
The defendant, a security guard in the building, was arrested days after her death, and according to court witnesses, confessed to the crime and directed investigators to the murder weapon.
However, speaking to Doha News outside of the courtroom today, a close Kenyan friend of Anyona’s said that his confession was coerced, and that he was beaten into giving it.
He added that the defendant, who is in his early 30s and is married with a daughter back home, said that he has “lots of pain and regret,” but didn’t specify about what. He plans to appeal the verdict.
According to Anyona’s attorney, the killing was not premeditated. He said the guard had gone to Brown’s apartment the night of her death after she requested he make a repair.
In his closing arguments last month, the lawyer alleged that Brown “picked a fight” with Anyona “as was her habit.”
He added that the woman “yelled at him and bossed him around” and that the man snapped and, in the heat of the moment, hit her head against the door.
The lawyer did not attempt to reconcile his version of events with previous testimony from the forensic examiner, who said Brown died from a loss of blood resulting from the stab wounds.
The examiner had also stated that Brown was found partially unclothed in her bed and had been sexually assaulted, which the defendant previously confessed to, according to a police officer’s testimony.
The defendant theoretically faced the death penalty for murder, but Brown’s family members, who are based in the US, said in a letter filed with the court last month that they would prefer the man receives a prison sentence if found guilty.
However, speaking to Doha News today, both of Brown’s parents expressed disappointment about the verdict. Reached by phone, Brown’s father Robert said:
“This sentence is not nearly enough for what that creep did, for all the damage he caused. We live with our sentence everyday. We have a verdict for life. Losing our little girl and living with that loss everyday of our lives is our verdict till we die.
Why is it then that he (the defendant) does not get to spend the rest of his life in prison? What kind of life sentence is this?”
US embassy officials were present at today’s verdict, but left immediately afterwards. The embassy declined comment when asked by Doha News.
If this was in America he would have been executed already. Unless if he was white, he would have sent to a psychiatric hospital for mental problems.
You can’t be from the States then…people sentenced to death sit on death row for 15-20 years. Spending hundreds of thousands of tax payer money on appeals. No one has ever been executed within months of a judgement. Many of us wish this was the case…
I don’t understand why US hasn’t scrapped its utterly inefficient death penalty system yet. Maybe they’re too busy arguing over what color the bike-shed should be.
They haven’t, they just shoot them in the back to save money on a trial…..
America should abolish the death penalty, it is not right for a civilised country to execute it’s citizens. If they make a mistake they can’t bring the person back.
Particularly when about every three months someone on death row is exonerated based on evidence previously not heard. It really does seem a very silly system – so backward.
Not really, do you know how long people spend on death row in America? Many, many years in most cases. However if you are a Cop in America it seems you can shoot black people in the back with impunity.
The more interesting thing about this case was how bad his defence lawyer was. The evidence from frosenics clearly pointed to someone that had been stabbed but he persisted with an explanation that he banged her head against the wall in a fit or anger. Why contridict the evidence put before the court in such a stupid way?
I know one thing if i ever get arrested here I will defend myself, no way any of these stupid lawyers are going to talk on my behalf.
This case has dragged on for a long time. Lets hope that Jennifer’s family can finally have closure on this.
How can this case be closed when forensic evidence contradicts the ‘confession’?
is that like the only court in the entire country?
Of course not. This is the lower court. The higher court is on the 2nd floor and the highest court is on the 3rd floor. Above that there are 2 appeal courts and finally the roof for those who are convicted but can’t face jail. Actually a complete new court complex is in the early design stages and will take another two or three years to go through the whole design and planning process before it is deemed to be too expensive and scrapped.
The higher court and Court of Cassation are actually in a separate building, near Sports Roundabout.
“which the defendant previously confessed to, according to a police officer’s testimony.”….Let me guess they still don’t visually and audio record confessions/interviews etc……Well if they cant pull over a car and give a ticket for a child sitting on mums lap unrestrained I suppose I was expecting a little too much from the Qatar police wasn’t I now!
My problem with this is that I have no trust in the judicial system here (and some other countries as well for that matter). If someone is arrested I have no confidence that he or she would be dealt with in an ethical manner with the sole purpose of obtaining the truth. I wonder if he was a scapegoat because of his status and nationality and because of hers (was there pressure to find to charge someone?). I hope the whole system is objective and unbiased but it doesn’t seem so which makes me doubt the credibilty of the court. If this man is innocent and wrongly accused, I don’t know how anyone involved can live with themselves.