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The Murder of Shonette Dover

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First Published on 1st of May, 2021 by Patrick Carpen.

Last updated: June 17, 2022 at 16:56 pm

The murder of Shonette Dover will go down as one of the most brutal, heinous, and cold-blooded murders ever committed on a Guyanese citizen by someone she once loved and trusted. Whether the younger sister of the victim was criminally involved in the killing is disputable, but the pieces of evidence presented against the former boyfriend point to a well-planned, cold blooded, and premeditated murder.

According to the family of the victim, the relationship between Shonette Dover and Shaquawn Alleyne was apparently on the rocks. The couple had lived together for about 3 years, but Shonette had indicated to her cousin and grandmother days before her death that she was planning to end the relationship and return home.

Sometimes, a breakup with a female partner, especially one who might be seeing someone else, draws a negative reaction from a man, and this in itself may be interpreted as a motive for murder. Shaquawn had said during the search operation which lasted about 28 days, that Shonette had been seeing someone else. However, whether there is any truth to this or not is unclear, and perhaps will never be known.

On the afternoon of Thursday, 29th of April, 2021, the police received a confession from the teenage sister of Shonette Dover. The younger sister at that time was being interrogated by the police in the presence of a Childcare and Protection Officer.

According to the police, the young girl said that she was at the home of Shaquawn Alleyne along with her sister when Shaquawn apparently accidentally shot Shonette Dover. She subsequently led detectives to the location where the body was buried in the backyard of Shaquawn Alleyne’s home in Wismar, Linden, Region 10.

According to the police, the teen said that Shaquawn was oiling his gun. Shortly afterwards, he pointed it at Shonette who remarked, “you like play, put that thing away.” Thereafter, a gunshot went off. Shaquawn said, “Oh shoots, I kill she.”

The teen said she saw her sister’s mouth open and blood on her face. She demanded that they take her to the hospital, but the boyfriend insisted that she was already dead and that they would be in trouble. He then went to this father who remarked, “don’t tell me stupidness, why yall playing with gun?”

The father then assisted or overlooked the disposing of the body in a shallow grave in the backyard. After burying the victim, the trio hatched an escape plan by orchestrating a missing person alert for Shonette Dover. While the teen might have been tagging along in the whole plot, the murderer, Shaquawn Alleyne, seemed to have had it all worked out. He posted several missing persons alert on Facebook appealing to the public to help him find his lost girlfriend. He went on video via a local news channel appealing to all Guyanese to help him search, knowing very well that he had buried her in his backyard. His pretense was astronomical.

In the early morning hours of Friday, April 30, the teen led detectives to the spot where the partly decomposed body of 20 years old Shonette Dover was unearthed four feet underground in a sitting position. The decayed corpse was taken to the Linden Hospital where it was pronounced dead. Family members were called in to help identify the victim. The family said they are confident that that is the body of the missing girl. DNA samples were sent for testing and are presently awaiting confirmation. Police shortly afterward issued a wanted bulletin for Shaquawn Alleyne who was nowhere to be found.

To put things into perspective, everyone is wondering why the young girl stayed silent for nearly 30 days after witnessing her sister’s murder firsthand. Some psychologists might explain that different people respond differently to traumatic events, and in this case, we need to analyze the personality of the second hand victim of the crime.

The teen said that the young man threatened her and warned her of the dangers of confession. Many people are speculating that the sister was part and parcel of the crime. The truth is, we can never be sure unless the young girl confesses, something that can be accomplished not through harsh interrogation techniques but through psychological counseling.

Aside from that, to the trained eye, the whole story has more holes than Swiss cheese.

If indeed the gun went off by accident and the younger sister was there to witness it, why the need to bury the body in a shallow grave? Why not rush her to a hospital and try to save her? Why so effortlessly conclude that she is dead? If, on the other hand, the murder was planned as many people are speculating, then there would have been a need to get rid of the body.

Further, you do not oil a gun when loaded unless you are really stupid. A gun is oiled after it is dissembled for cleaning. We find it hard to believe that someone would do this to their own sister. However, let’s not be too quick to jump to conclusions. Let’s await the unraveling of new evidence as the police continues to investigate.

Update: As of 17th of June, 2022, the murderer, Shaquawn Alleyne, is still on the run and has not been brought to justice by law enforcement.

The Neesa Gopaul Murder Case

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Photo of the beautiful Neeesa Gopaul

This article was first published on the 26th of May, 2020 by Patrick Carpen.

Last updated: July 3, 2022 at 13:11 pm

Lest We Forget…

The Crime that Shocked the Nation

The Neesa Gopaul murder case is doubtless one of the most horrific, brutal, and chilling cases in Guyanese history. Imagine being heartlessly attacked by the very person whose God-given duty is to love and protect you. Imagine a group of vacationers looking for a fun time out but ending up finding a human corpse stuffed in a suitcase at Madewini Creek along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway, and imagine a woman and her partner stuffing her daughter’s lifeless body into a suitcase and then dumping it into a remote creek with dumbbells tied to it so that it wouldn’t resurface. These are some of the elements that compose the Neesa Gopaul murder case – a brutal crime which sent shockwaves throughout the nation of Guyana, South America.

The Beautiful Neesa Gopaul

Neesa was only 16 years old at the time of her death. She was a straight A student at Guyana’s No 1 High School, Queens College, in Georgetown, Guyana, South America. Friends and classmates of Neesa Gopaul related that they didn’t notice anything unusual in Neesa’s relationship with her mother. In fact, they related several incidents where Neesa’s mom came to visit her and Neesa ran out and hugged her warmly. Little did anyone know that the little girl was being embraced by the claws of death.

The story of Neesa Gopaul began when her now deceased biological father met her mother working at a restaurant. Reportedly, the man fell in love with the young and charming Bibi Shareema Gopaul. He subsequently ended his first marriage and remarried with Shareema. The union produced two offspring – two beautiful girls of whom Neesa Gopaul was the elder.

Neesa Gopaul

But a few years later, Neesa father’s became sick and eventually died. There are rumors that he was poisoned slowly with an untraceable type of poison. However, we do not have any evidence to this claim. It was later discovered that Shareema had been in a relationship with a man by the name of Jarvis Barry Small who was abusive to her and who soon moved in to live with her and the two young girls.

During the police interrogation, some witnesses suggested that the young girl Neesa was being drugged and raped by Mr. Jarvis Small – with the knowledge of her mother over whom Mr. Small seemed to have exercised near-total control. According to reports, the motive for the murder might have been twofold: to silence Neesa from reporting the repeated rapes and to remove her as the only barrier which stood in the way of claiming ownership of the property which her father had given to her before he died.

Neesa was brutally murdered, her head battered beyond recognition, and stuffed into a suitcase. The perpetrators took her to the Madewini Creek along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway and dumped the suitcase with her lifeless body. Dumbbells were attached to the suitcase to ensure that it did not resurface.

The two criminals thought they had covered their tracks well. After all, how likely is it that someone would have found the girl’s body stuffed in a suitcase at the bottom of a Creek in an isolated region of Guyana? But in a miraculous unraveling, the truth was brought to the surface. Neesa Gopaul rose from her watery grave to nail her cold blooded murderers.

On March 5th, 2015, both Shareema Gopaul and Jarvis Small were convicted of the murder of Neesa Gopaul. Jarvis was sentenced to 96 years in prison while Bibi was sentenced to 106 years behind bars. Many persons related that the two remained remorseless and maintained their innocence despite overwhelming evidence.

Prison Mate’s Testimony

During the Neesa Gopaul Murder Trial, a young woman, Simone De Nobrega, who had shared a prison cell with murder convict Bibi Shareema Gopaul, was called to the stand. She related that during their time together in prison, Bibi had related some things to her about Neesa’s murder and her relationship with Barry.

According to Nobrega, Bibi first met Jarvis Barry Small at a gym. Small was a gym instructor, and Bibi said she was depressed and overweight and that Small “made her happy.” Small then wormed his way into Bibi’s life and started to manipulate her. He encouraged her to poison her husband using a slow, untraceable poison in the form of a tabled which was placed in his food. After some time, Bibi’s husband, “Javid,” became sick and was taken to the St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital. The doctors ran some tests on him and told them that Javid was OK except for a failing kidney.

Not too long after, Javid died at home and was buried the same day. Immediately after Javid died, Small moved in to live with Bibi. He allegedly also attempted to a carry on a relationship with Neesa which angered Bibi and caused the two to fight. At one point, Neesa reported to the station that she was being raped by Small. She subsequently rescinded her statement from the police saying that she had lied about that.

Small then pressured Bibi to murder Neesa, and she eventually complied. On the day of the murder, they took Neesa and her younger sister out for a drive and after lunch at Royal Castle, asked the girls if they wanted to go for a long drive. The girls said yes and the “family” headed up the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.

When they arrived in the vicinity of Splashmin’s fun park, Small, who was sitting behind Neesa, placed a rope around Neesa’s neck and started to strangle her. Neesa started to kick the dashboard and steering wheel in the struggle as she held on to the rope and gasped, “mommy, mommy, don’t kill me!” The younger sister, Mary, was asleep next to Small and the music was up so that she would not be awakened by the noise from her sister. The windows were also wound up and the air conditioner on.

Then Bibi turned into a trail heading towards Emerald Tower Resort and drove for approximately one mile after which they stopped. Jarvis Small held Neesa by the neck and took her out of the car as she was panting for breath. Neesa fell to the ground with her arms stretched out and muttered desperately in a faint voice, “Mary, Mary, wake up!” Small then took a piece of wood from out of the car and dealt Neesa several blows behind her head. Subsequently, Small picked up Neesa’s lifeless body and loaded it into the car. They returned with the girl’s lifeless body home.

The next day, Bibi filed a missing person report for Neesa with the police. That night, the criminal couple stuffed their victim into a suitcase, took her the creek near to the Emerald Towers Resort and dumped her into the water, attaching dumbbells to the suitcase so as to keep it from resurfacing. (Read Full Testimony Here)

If you have any firsthand information about Neesa Gopaul’s personal life or murder, please write to us at contact@guyanasouthamerica.gy or inbox us via our Facebook Page.

Update: 2nd of October, 2020: The convictions of Bibi Shareema Gopaul and Jarvis Small are being appealed. Jarvis Small is being represented by Attorneys Nigel Hughes and Ronald Daniels while Bibi Shareema Gopaul has asked for a time period up to the 15th of October 2020 to secure a lawyer. If Bibi is unable to secure a lawyer by that time, the state will provide one for her.

Update: 31st of August, 2021: In an appeal heard by Chancellor of the Judiciary, (ag) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, and Justices of Appeal, Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud, the sentences of Shareema Gopaul and Jarvis Small were reduced to 45 years in prison. Jarvis Small was originally sentenced to 96 years in prison, and Shareema Gopaul to 106 years in prison. In other words, a whooping 51 years was sliced off of Small’s original sentence and a whooping 61 years were chopped off Shareema’s original sentence. The murder convictions, however, were upheld.

Update: 4th of December, 2021: Bibi Shareema Gopaul moves to the CCJ to appeal her conviction and prison sentence. She was granted special leave by the Caribbean Court of Justice to appeal her sentence at the same court. The CCJ is Guyana’s highest and final court of appeal.

Read More: People, History, and Culture of Guyana