I can't say I was surprised to read the news last week that O'Neil Grant, one of the four accused in the infamous Just Desserts shooting, had met his end in a hail of bullets in a Kingston, Jamaica bus depot. I'm surprised it didn't happen earlier.
Things were bound to end horribly for Grant. He was scared. He felt abandoned. Acquitted of all charges in the racially charged trial for the shooting death of Georgina "Vivi" Leimonis, he was nonetheless deported.
It was clear from the conversation we had shortly after he landed in the strange country he'd left as a young boy - with $30 in his pocket and a suitcase full of shredded clothes, a final message from the customs agents who handled his baggage at Pearson - that it was only a matter of time before the survival instinct that causes people to do desperate things would kick in.
He hailed from Lawrence Heights, aka "the Jungle." But Kingston is a whole other underworld.
I t's doubtful that officials responsible for his deportation feel any remorse. For them, what looks like Grant's gangland-style slaying only reinforces what they believed when they sent him back in 2002: that he was no good and they'd made the right decision in getting rid of him.
The weekend papers dutifully reported that Grant was acquitted in the infamous 1994 Just Desserts shooting. He spent five years and eight months in the Don Jail.
But missing in the sad tale of O'Neil Grant was the shocking deportation ruling that took place after his acquittal.
Grant was exonerated by a jury of his peers. In fact, so weak was the Crown's case that the judge ordered the jury to disregard the testimony of the key witness, who had a lengthy criminal record.
But no matter. The anti-black-immigration hysteria whipped up by cops and politicians in the wake of Just Desserts made Grant's removal a foregone conclusion when, shortly after his acquittal, it was time for a review of a stay of deportation granted in 93. That deportation order had been the result of two earlier scrapes with the law (convictions for assault with a weapon and possession of a narcotic for the purpose of drug trafficking).
He had kept his nose clean. There were no criminal convictions to speak of.
But an adjudicator on the Immigration and Refugee Board, Daniele D'Ignazio, overturned Grant's stay, citing breaches of his promise to be of good behaviour and keep the peace.
The stunner is that the transgressions pointed to by D'Ignazio took place while Grant was behind bars on the Just Desserts charges.
Pot was found on one occasion. Hash butts on another. There were altercations with other inmates and, in one case, a prison guard. Par for the course for anyone doing time in the Don. There were never any charges.
But what weighed just as heavily in D'Ignazio's decision to deport was Grant's failure to report a change of address to Immigration - namely, his move to the Don Jail.
Grant's psychiatrist, Aileen Brunet, submitted at the time that he suffered from post-traumatic stress and major depression. She likened his time behind bars to a hostage-taking.
And she warned that "the emotional and psychological consequences would be devastating" if he were returned to Jamaica.
But it seems the fix was in from the day Grant's face was splashed across front pages as the first arrested in the Just Desserts case.
Back then, Immigration Minister Sergio Marchi stood in the House to say Canada had made a big mistake by not deporting him when it first had the chance.
O'Neil Grant never had a chance.