Church killers sentenced to life behind bars

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Francis Phillip, 35, left and Kim John, 22, are seen in court as the judge sentenced the two men to hang in Castries, St Lucia, on April 30, 2003. Since their appeals lasted over five years, they no longer face the death penalty, but life sentences. TIMOTHY JAMES/AP
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A burnt bible lays on the floor next to the back of the damaged altar of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Castries, St. Lucia, on December 31, 2000. TIMOTHY JAMES/AP

Saint Lucia — Kim John and Francis Phillip, the men accused of setting fire to worshippers in the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries 15 years ago, have been sentenced to life in prison.

The sentence was handed down on Friday April 24th, in the High Court.

The men had pleaded guilty to manslaughter after the Privy Council canned their death sentence for murder.

It is not yet clear if the court will take into account the 14 years the duo have already spent behind bars. Under St. Lucia law, a life sentence equates to 25 years in prison.

The men are accused of storming the Roman Catholic Church on December 31, 2000 and setting several persons on fire after dousing them with gasoline.

Sister Theresa Egan, 73, was beaten to death with a piece of wood while 62-year-old Rev. Charles Gaillard was set on fire.

Reports are that about a dozen worshippers suffered burns in the attack.

Considered one of the most heinous in the history of this eastern Caribbean island, police said the men declared that they were Rastafarian prophets sent by God to fight corruption in the Catholic Church.

Source St Lucia News Online

READ previous (2001) story …… CLICK HERE

PHOTO: TIMOTHY JAMES/AP

Francis Phillip, 35, left and Kim John, 22, are seen in court as the judge sentenced the two men to hang in Castries, St Lucia, on April 30, 2003. Since their appeals lasted over five years, they no longer face the death penalty, but life sentences.