Two young men deemed “too dangerous” to be allowed to walk among law-abiding citizens of this country have been sentenced to life in prison.
However, Rashayne Aneil Blenman, 26, and Romario Antonio Clarke, 28, both of Risk Road, Fitts Village, St James will only have just over 11 years and 24 years, respectively, left to spend behind bars before they can be considered for release.
Blenman had pleaded guilty to the non-capital murder of Mark Walton on August 4, 2014, while Clarke was found guilty, by a jury, of that Kadooment Day shooting death.
Justice Carlisle Greaves last Friday sentenced the convicted killers to life in prison, with an order that they serve 30 years in prison before consideration is given for them to be released.
However, Blenman was given a one-third discount for his guilty plea and credited for the 2 635 days, or seven years and two months, he spent on remand.
He was also allowed a three-month deduction for the delay in his case being heard, leaving him with “11 and a half years before you are eligible for consideration of release”, the judge said.
Clarke, meanwhile, was credited for the 1 674 days he spent on remand, which was calculated at four and a half years, and given a discount of nine months for the delay in his matter, leaving him with 24 years and nine months to serve before he is eligible for release.
Justice Greaves, in sentencing the duo, described the killing of 23-year-old Walton as “an unnecessary execution”.
Walton had intervened in a dispute between Clarke and another man when he was fatally shot.
“This is an offence against a young man . . . who sought to do nothing more than be an upright citizen, to live up to the ethics that we teach in our community – ‘when you see something say something, remain not silent when you see evil is about’. He sought to stop the violence that was about to occur, not by striking . . . but by simply requesting those he knew . . . to back off and move on.
“But instead, this peacemaker met the brazen arrogance of Mr Clarke who chose to assault him and who demanded of Mr Blenman to shoot him. Mr Blenman did not have to follow those instructions . . . [but] shot Mr Walton at close range.
“A man who has the ability of Mr Clarke to lead others to evil of this sort is too dangerous to dwell among law-abiding and peaceful citizens in this community. A man who has the weakness of Mr Blenman to follow the commands of a man like Mr Clarke and shoot a peaceful, law-abiding, peacekeeping citizen of this country along a public highway . . . is too dangerous to be allowed to walk among law-abiding citizens of this community,” Justice Greaves stated.
The judge said he had struggled to find any mitigating factors in this case.
“. . . . This was an unnecessary execution and arrogant execution of a peaceful law-abiding citizen of this country.
“Mr Clarke, he was the instigator, the leader, the commander, the one who sought trouble, brought trouble, caused trouble, and commanded trouble. The instrument used on his command in this case was a firearm; it has not been recovered. The inference is, therefore, that it remains available . . . .
“In the case of Mr Blenman . . . you did not have to shoot him, but you chose to shoot him under the command of your evil master, so there is very little mitigation,” the judge said.
During the sentencing, Justice Greaves expressed the view that anyone convicted of murder with the use of a firearm should get a sentence of life in prison unless there are exceptional circumstances.
He said that given the scourge of firearm homicides in Barbados and across the Caribbean which “threatens the very existence of every citizen”, a strong message had to be sent.
“They threaten the peaceful and successful and progressive development of these economies and the peaceful quiet enjoyment of these islands by its citizens as well as those who visit and or invest in our wellbeing,” said Justice Greaves as he pointed to statistics in some countries to support his position.
“I am of the view that firearm homicides must be treated specially . . . .”
Blenman was represented by attorneys Andrew Pilgrim KC and Kamisha Benjamin while Clarke had Angella Mitchell-Gittens and Latisha Springer as his defence counsel.
Senior State Counsel Neville Watson was the prosecutor.