A member of the U.S. Navy who claims to be the spouse of a Jamaican member of parliament is being detained there over a complex murder-for-hire plot that killed his lover and their 10-month-old daughter in a fit of rage last month, authorities in the island nation say.
Leoda Bradshaw, a petty officer and cook stationed in Miami as part of a recruiting team, stands accused of two counts each of murder, conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy to kidnap, Jamaican prosecutors say.
Jamaican prosecutors say she hired two hitmen to kill Toshyna Patterson and her daughter Sarayah Paulwell in a jealous rage after discovering that her romantic partner was the child’s father.
“Both were brutally murdered and their bodies disposed of,” Kingston Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey said at a press conference last week, according to Task & Purpose. “It is one of the most painful investigations for the team since recent times.”
Authorities say Bradshaw conspired with her cousin, Roland Balfour, 30, to contract two men — who ultimately ended up kidnapping and murdering the mother and daughter and then burning their bodies.
“She learnt of the existence of young Paulwell on Wednesday the 5th of September 2023,” a prosecutor told a judge on Oct. 14, according to a courtroom report by Jamaica Observer. “Having learnt of the existence of this child, she contacted Patterson on Facebook and informed her that she was the wife of Mr. Paulwell and further that she learnt of the existence of the young offspring of Mr. Paulwell. Miss Bradshaw advised Miss Patterson that a DNA [test] should be done to determine the paternity of the child. After this brief exchange the [now-]deceased blocked the accused from her account that very day.”
The man at the center of the defendant’s alleged jealousy is a well-known Jamaican politician – Member of Parliament for Kingston East and Port Royal Phillip Paulwell, a former government minister.
“The past few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as I grappled with the abduction of my daughter and her mother,” Paulwell said in an Instagram post. “That anyone could murder a mother and an innocent baby is unimaginable, and my heart is heavy with sadness.”
The member of parliament has not addressed the claims made by Jamaican prosecutors that the woman alleged to be responsible for the two deaths considered Paulwell her “spouse.”
“The allegations are that she traveled to Jamaica for the sole purpose of killing Toshyna Patterson and the young child she shared with her spouse,” the prosecutor continued. “The Crown’s allegations are that the accused, through her cousin and co-accused Roland Balfour, contracted men to kidnap and murder Patterson and Sarayah.”
Balfour stands accused of two counts each of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to kidnapping and one count of misprision of felony, a common-law offense that criminalizes someone who has knowledge of a felony but fails to report it.
The two other men said to be involved, Roshane Miller, 29, and Richard Brown, 30, face various charges over their alleged roles. Miller stands accused of two counts each of accessory before the fact to kidnapping and accessory before the fact to murder. Brown stands accused of two counts each of murder, conspiracy to murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy to kidnapping.
“The Crown’s case is that Bradshaw took Patterson to Stony Hill in the vicinity of the home where she, Bradshaw, was staying,” the prosecutor said on Friday, according to Jamaica Observer. “At this location, the accused handed over Patterson and her young child to Richard Brown and other persons who are yet to be apprehended. After this, Patterson and her young child were taken to Warieka Hills where they were shot and killed and their bodies burned.”
The case is before Supreme Court Justice Simone Wolfe-Reese.
On Friday, Bradshaw’s defense attorney, Deborah Martin, complained about the public statements made so far.
“We do urge that this be the forum for the dissemination of information in the matter. There is a lot of disinformation out there,” Martin said in comments reported by Jamaica Observer. “And while we are here in court waiting for you to arrive, we are aware that DCP Fitz Bailey has done his own press conference, which has been broadcast through social media. We would urge that persons who can, do what they can to urge persons who ought to know that this is the forum.”
The Navy acknowledged the petty officer’s arrest in comments to Miami-based NBC affiliate WTVJ.
“The matter is currently under investigation by Jamaican authorities and the Navy Criminal Investigative Service,” the agency said.
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