St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Three young men were on Friday (July 14) sentenced to life in prison for murder, marking the second time this week that the resident high court judge has sent accused persons to Her Majesty’s Prison for the rest of their natural life.
Keith “Zion” Murray, 30, Nicholas Riley, 28, and Denroy “Barber” Simmonds, 31, all of Challengers Village, sat stoned faced in the dock when Justice Trevor Warde QC handed down the sentence on Friday afternoon. Murray and Riley’s mothers sobbed quietly, Riley’s mother saying “Well, well, well; I’m never seeing my son again.”
The three men were convicted on March 7 for the murder of George Livingston Queeley, who went missing in January 2011. Queeley’s remains were discovered in the hills of Challengers Village in November 2013 when a young man told police that his spirit was troubled because he had been present when the man was murdered. That individual took police to the mountains where he said himself and the three defendants had buried Queeley after Murray and Simmonds had shot him.
According to the witness, the group had been farming an illicit crop in the hills when they discovered that Queeley was also farming nearby. He said Queeley was warned not to return to the area or he would be killed, and when the man returned to his plot the next day, the young men made good on their threat.
At the sentencing hearing on Friday Justice Warde QC said “This was a heinous, cold-blooded and se3nseless murder.” He said he assessed the culpability of each defendant and said although Riley indicated in a social inquiry report that he had not pulled the trigger, he was there when the plan was hatched, when the group returned to the hills the next day, when the victim was executed, and he helped to conceal the body.
Justice Warde said the convicted men had shown no remorse, although they did say they felt bad that a man had died.
In his consideration for sentence, the judge said he looked at the mitigating factors, including the age of the defendants when the crime was committed and relatively clean criminal records, however those were far outweighed by the aggravating factors, which included the premeditation and element of planning, the use of a firearm, and the concealment of the body.
The defense attorneys for the convicted men have indicated their intention to appeal the case. Simmonds was represented by Jason Hamilton, Murray by Dr. Henry Brownce QC, Marrissa Hobson-Newman and Ogrenville Brone, and Riley by Hesketh Benjamin.