Johnny Vivian Phillip sentenced to 39 years for murder


The community of Petite Savanne can breathe a sigh of relief, four years following the disturbing murder of Timothy Avandale Anselm as his killer, Johnny Vivian Philip, has been sentenced to serve thirty nine years at the Dominica State Prison.

In the early hours of March 7, 2020, Phillip visited the home of Anselm after spending some hours at the village liquor shop, accusing him of stealing manure and a solar panel from his property.

Twenty four hours before the incident, Phillip made a report of the accusations to the police, and then advised police to return for investigations the following day as he (Phillip) was on his way to town for business. The officer obliged, but the then-complainant appeared to have taken matters into his own hands in the wee hours of the next morning, before the police could conduct the investigation.

While in the comfort of his home, Anselm was reportedly disturbed by rants from Phillip who asked that he surrender his “manure and solar panel.” Phillip’s request was met with silence and so he proceeded to use a stick to force entry into the home of the deceased, inflicting blows as they tussled, resulting in Anselm falling to the ground. Phillip fled the scene but a neighbour who had heard the commotion and had seen  Phillip, ran to a still conscious Anselm, who with injuries to his head, confirmed the identity of the assailant to the neighbour.

At the Roseau High Court today before His Lordship Collin Williams, the court learned that Phillip pleaded guilty to the offence in April 2024. He had asked for “justice with mercy,” stating that, “my doing caused the death of Avandale, my head hurts. I’m sorry for what I caused the family.”

According to Justice Williams, based on the sentencing guidelines of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Phillip’s offence warrants the Whole of Life sentence. He said he was moved to make his decision after considering the vulnerability of the deceased, and that the accused took the law into his own hands in the worst way possible. The judge said he also considered the fact that Phillip wounded the deceased in the confines of his own home, unprovoked, and that the confrontation for Philip’s belongings hinted premeditation of the act.

Justice Williams imposed a starting sentence of forty years which he deemed reasonable, then added four years for aggravation, which in addition to one week, was already served on remand. The early guilty plea  of the accused does not apply to Whole of Life sentence and so Phillip was finally sentenced to serve thirty-nine years, eleven months and three weeks at the state prison.

A social inquiry report had suggested that the deceased Anselm was a hard working and respectable man in his community who deserves justice. Meanwhile, reports stated that Phillip was also a calm villager who seldom got into altercations, but would lose control of judgement when under the influence of alcohol. The assumption was that his experience at the liquor shop just hours prior to the offence may have contributed to his poor decision regarding the deceased.

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  1. joyous
    May 20, 2024

    what is strange is that the unsolved murders. one is left to assume many times why these cases are not active.

    some cases are solved in under three years whereas some walk the streets and the cases are closed

  2. Him
    May 17, 2024

    I wish more killers would get this kind of sentencing. Too many senseless killings on island.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

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