Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Man gets life for decapitating teenager

A man has been jailed for life in Queensland over the brutal murder of a teenager who was stabbed 133 times and decapitated before his head was used as a bowling ball.

A Supreme Court jury in Brisbane took less than a day to find James Patrick Roughan, 28, guilty of murdering 17-year-old Morgan Jay Shepherd on March 29, 2005.

This was the second time Roughan has been found guilty of the murder.

He and co-offender Christopher Clark Jones, 24, were both sentenced to life imprisonment in April last year after being found guilty after a lengthy trial.

Roughan appealed the verdict in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane and won a retrial in December last year.

At the start of the second trial he pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with a corpse, and to a charge of accessary to murder after the fact.

However, the crown proceeded with the murder trial, presenting evidence that was accepted by the jury, which returned a guilty verdict late Monday night.

During the eight-day trial the court was told Mr Shepherd's body was found in a shallow grave near Dayboro, northwest of Brisbane, on April 1, 2005.

The teenager died after being stabbed more than 133 times, and his head had been sawn off.

Prosecutor David Meredith told the court Roughan and Jones had murdered Mr Shepherd after becoming embroiled in an argument during a drinking session at Roughan's home in Sandgate, north of Brisbane.

Several witnesses testified that they overheard Jones and Roughan boasting about the killing.

Jones also told friends that Roughan used the severed head like a puppet and a bowling ball.

After killing Mr Shepherd the pair enlisted a friend to help dispose of the body, and they later drove back to Dayboro to bury the body more carefully.

Three people have already been sentenced for helping to dispose of the corpse.

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