Rock Hall, St Philip resident Cheniko Jomo Hunte was today sentenced to 12 years in prison for gun possession and 10 years for burglary.
The sentences, which were imposed by Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius, will run concurrently. It was revealed in court that the crimes were committed on April 21, 2007, and have left a Stevenson Harding with “significant physical injury” for the rest of his life.
Hunte had previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm and entering Harding’s home as a trespasser and inflicting serious bodily harm on the homeowner on the aforementioned date.
“I am sorry . . . to the man that I inflict the injury on . . . . at that point I was misled by some older guys. During my life, it was hard for my mother taking care of nine of us . . . and the only life I know was being on the block,” Hunte said recently in the No. 5 Supreme Court.
He went on to explain that he had found a way to change his life by enrolling in several programmes while at HMP Dodds.
“I put it to myself that I will make a change . . . I begging for another chance . . . . I know that I did something wrong but everyone deserves a second chance, Ma’am . . . I need to get back in society to prove myself . . . [and] to help my mother. I tired of my mother having to come look for me at prison,” the self-represented inmate said.
However, Senior Crown Counsel Olivia Davis submitted that a custodial sentence should be imposed in order “to protect society” from Hunte.
She then reminded the court that Harding was at home when the intruder entered his home, came into his bedroom and shot him in the left side of his stomach. The victim later identified Hunte as the culprit saying that he recognized him because he visited his shop on several occasions. Harding also disclosed that the lights were also on in his house when Hunte who was dressed in black came in wearing a black sock hat on his head.
“The callousness of your actions showed disregard for the victim. You broke into his house and shot him in his bedroom. The impact of your actions has far-reaching implications for Mr Harding. He suffered significant physical injury to which he has not fully recovered . . . treatment is ongoing.
“Though you told the probation officer that you had no intention of killing Mr Harding, your actions showed that you certainly had no regard for his life,” the judge said as she listed several aggravating factors of Hunte’s offence.
She also pointed out that Hunte, who had five previous convictions including those for robberies and possession of offensive weapons, had been assessed at a “high risk” of reoffending.
The only factors she said where in his favour was the fact that he pleaded guilty at the earliest possible time and had expressed remorse.
Justice Cornelius then imposed the concurrent sentences and took into consideration a number of factors including Hunte’s time already spent on remand, which amounted to 2,326 days.
He now has just over five years and seven months remaining to serve on that sentence.