St Lucians to be sentenced today for killing priest and nun and burning worshippers

The Ash Wednesday sentencing adds a chilling touch of irony to the macabre case which began when the two men stormed the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on December 31, 2000, brandishing flaming torches and dousing worshippers with gasoline.

They were accused of bludgeoning 73-year-old Sister Theresa Egan to death with a piece of wood and setting fire to 62-year-old Father Charles Gaillard, who also died in the attack.

Of the 13 worshippers who also suffered burns in the atrocity, some were so seriously injured that they had to be treated overseas.

John and Philip subsequently told police that they were Rastafarian prophets sent by God to fight corruption in the Catholic Church.

During their first trial in 2003, Philip reportedly laughed, while John informed the judge that he would rather go to the grave than “be a slave in your evil society.”

John and Philip were retried after Britain’s Privy Council upheld an argument that they were insane.

The pair pleaded guilty to manslaughter last week while facing the new trial, during which neither spoke except when entering their pleas.

John and Philip no longer face the death penalty, since murder convicts whose appeals last longer than five years automatically face life sentences.

Defence attorney Al Elliott, who is representing John, said the pair could receive a lesser sentence if the judge takes into account their psychiatric reports and other mitigating factors.

Reprinted from Caribbean360

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