Tilakdharry Basdeo, 35, now faces up to life behind bars if convicted at trial of the charge of attempted first-degree murder with a deadly weapon, said Assistant State Attorney Cheo Reid.
On July 22, just three days after a hearing where Basdeo rejected the plea offer, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Sandra McSorley suddenly removed herself from the case.
“Due to an unfortunate and inadvertent ex parte communication concerning the facts of this case, the Court finds it necessary to disqualify herself from this case,” McSorley wrote in an order sent via interoffice mail to Reid and Assistant Public Defender Erich Taylor.
Circuit Judge Richard Oftedal, now handling the proceedings, will hold a status hearing Aug. 22. The next step in the case was a planned deposition of the only witness to the incident at the family home on Marlin Drive west of Boca Raton: the couple’s shaken 14-year-old daughter.
On July 19, McSorley set ground rules for questioning the teenager who was apparently traumatized because she “witnessed her father taking a machete to her mother.”
Taylor, who requested the deposition, was asked to draft questions for the prosecutor’s review. Reid said he’d work on getting the girl therapy to help her prepare for the interview. He doesn’t plan to put her on the witness stand at her father’s trial.
“We don’t need her to testify here,” Reid said.
An arrest report by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office described the confrontation:
When the woman arrived home at about 3:30 p.m., she took a shower and laid down in the master bedroom. Basdeo, who was outside trimming trees, came inside, took a shower and called a “family discussion” about his wife being out late the previous night.
Basdeo started screaming and told the victim: “I’m going to get the machete and cut you into pieces,” according to the report.
Basdeo went to the kitchen, grabbed the blade in his right hand and returned to the master bedroom. He slammed the machete down on the woman’s head and shoulder about four times, the report stated.
While their daughter cried and shouted “stop,” Basdeo lifted the machete over his head and said, “Stop crying.”
Basdeo then proceeded to strike his wife four or five more times in her head and shoulder. He then dropped the machete and walked into the dining room. Basdeo sat on a chair and called 911 with the news: “I think I just murdered my wife,” according to the report.
Detectives said Basdeo, a native of Guyana, later confessed at the Sheriff’s Office station.
Three weeks ago, the state dropped a count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, because the girl was the victim in that charge. Basdeo was initially arrested on a child abuse charge, but prosecutors didn’t pursue it.