By NAN Staff Writer
NEWS AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Sept. 26, 2022: A Caribbean man will spend the next 17 years of his life in jail after he was found guilty today of murdering a woman he wrongly thought had infected him with the HIV virus.
A High Court judge in St. Vincent and the Grenadines sentenced Desron Roberts, 26, to 17 years, five months and 11 days in prison. His sentencing came after Roberts pleaded not guilty to the charge in June, that in October 2018, he murdered Rhodesia Rochelle Bailey.
The court heard that Roberts, who was then 22, had a sexual relationship with Bailey, 30, whose house he frequented. On July 16, 2018, Bailey told Roberts that she was HIV positive and two days later, he went to see a doctor, who advised him to take a post-exposure treatment for HIV and to get tested.
Roberts began the course of medication, but did not adhere to the prescription fully as he felt that some of the side effects of the medication were too harsh. He had bouts of depression and contemplated suicide but was afraid to speak to anyone about his problem for fear of the reaction that he would face.
Nonetheless, he continued the sexual relationship with Bailey and in October 2018, decided that he would kill her, wrongly thinking that she had infected him with HIV. On October 25, 2018, he took a knife with him to Bailey’s house. As she was lying wearing only her underwear, Roberts told her that he had come to kill her.
Bailey told Roberts that she was not afraid to die, and he put the knife down and began to strangle her. Bailey attempted to reach for the knife but was unsuccessful and Robert continued to try to strangle her.
Unsatisfied with his attempts to end Bailey’s life that way, Robert took up the knife and began to stab Bailey, who held on to him begging for her life. Roberts stabbed her multiple times before releasing her. Bailey ran from the house but collapsed nearby.
Robert went to his home and a passing villager found Bailey’s body early the following morning. A postmortem found that she died of multiple stab wounds.
Following his arrest, Roberts confessed to murdering Bailey and took them to the house.
In sentencing Roberts, Justice Cottle said there was a significant degree of premeditation involved in the killing, noting that Roberts took the knife with him to the scene and told the victim that he had come to kill her.