Two men from Carenage have been sentenced to a total of 51 years in prison for their roles in murdering an elderly man, who attempted to intervene while they were carjacking a taxi driver.
Travis “Footprint” Williams and Leston “Bummie” Solomon pleaded guilty to felony murder in November, last year, but only received their sentences from High Court Judge Althea Alexis-Windsor on Tuesday.
Under the felony murder rule the mandatory death penalty for murder is waived in circumstances where death results during the commission of a lesser criminal offence, which in most cases is robbery.
Williams and Solomon were charged with murdering Vaughn Cambridge on a unknown date between September 25 and 28, 2007.
According to the evidence presented in the case, on September 25, that year, a man only identified as Shawn, who was not arrested by police and charged, contacted Michael Koon Koon to hire him to transport him, Williams and Solomon.
When Koon Koon, who was hired by Shawn before without any issues, arrived at the location in Malabar, Arima, the men handcuffed and blindfolded him before placing him in a house.
He claimed that when they returned later that evening and were taking him out of the house, an elderly neighbour, later identified as Cambridge, raised an alarm and sought to intervene.
Shawn, Williams and Solomon reported beat Cambridge with a cutlass, a bottle and a piece of iron for between 20 to 25 minutes before handcuffing him and placing him in the trunk of Koon Koon’s car.
The trio then forced Koon Koon to drive to a desolate area of Wallerfield, where Shawn allegedly removed Cambridge from the trunk and chopped him several times.
The men then left the location and went to pick up Shawn’s girlfriend in Arima before returning to the location that they initially lured Koon Koon too.
Shawn allegedly demanded that Koon Koon drop Williams and Solomon at their homes in Carenage but he refused and suggested that they take the car and drive themselves.
Koon Koon was then allowed to leave.
When Williams and Solomon were arrested they admitted to their participation but maintained that Shawn killed Cambridge.
Solomon admitted that after taking the car from Koon Koon, they crashed it on their way to Carenage and abandoned the wreckage.
In assessing the appropriate sentence for the duo, Alexis-Windsor begun with a starting point of 25 years in prison.
She noted that both men deserved a two-year uplift on the starting point based on the aggravating factors inclusive of the fact that Cambridge’s pain and suffering was prolonged and they did nothing to intervene when their friend was delivering the fatal chops.
Both men received a one- year reduction based on their cooperation with police but Solomon received an additional one year reduction because he had a clean criminal record before the incident while Williams had five convictions for robbery.
After applying the one third discount for their earlier guilty pleas, Williams and Solomon were left with sentences of 17 years and four months and 16 years and 8 months, respectively.
However, they are expected to be released in four years and three years and three months, respectively as the time they spent on remand awaiting trial was also deducted from their sentences.
Williams was represented by Daniel Khan and Harrynarine Singh while Joseph George and Shontel Hinds represented Solomon. Giselle Ferguson-Heller and Ravita Persad prosecuted.