Gang member jailed for life after double murder

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A 30-year-old has been sentenced to spend at least 28 years behind bars for his involvement in the murder of two men.

Romano Mills was yesterday sentenced to serve a minimum of 25 years for the premeditated murder of Haile Outerbridge and Ricco Furbert, followed by a ten-year sentence for using a firearm to commit the offence, leaving him ineligible for parole for 28 years and four months.

Meanwhile, a second man, Gariko Benjamin, was also scheduled to be sentenced during yesterday’s hearing, but the court heard that he was seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, which was entered in the midst of the Supreme Court trial.

Delivering his sentence, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said the double murder was the worst gang-related killing to take place on the island, describing Mills as the “manager” of the firearm used.

“Of all the gang cases that we have tried in this jurisdiction, I think that on the numbers alone, these particular murders must be regarded as the worst,” he said.

“There are no other cases in the jurisdiction in which so many defendants were convicted, in respect to gang-related firearms murders.”

On the evening of January 23, 2013, Mr Outerbridge and Mr Furbert had been shopping at Belvin’s when Mr Furbert opened the door to leave.

He ran back inside when he saw the group of men on bikes outside shouting, “They’re outside. They’ve got guns.”

Both he and Mr Outerbridge ran to a storeroom at the back of the shop. Security cameras showed a figure wearing a black, full-face helmet and blue clothes walk to the storeroom door with a firearm in his right hand.

In June 2015, Christoph Duerr and Le-Veck Roberts were unanimously found guilty of the premeditated murder of Mr Outerbridge and Mr Furbert and jailed for life.

Roberts was accused of being the gunman who carried out the attack, while Duerr was described as the armourer, who stored and supplied the weapon used.

During the latest trial, prosecutors alleged that Mills was the “manager or director” of the firearm, enabling the attack.

At yesterday’s sentencing hearing, the court heard that Mills was convicted by a unanimous verdict following a full trial, and that he had several previous convictions for violence offences, including a 2014 conviction for possessing a firearm and ammunition.

Prosecutor Carrington Mahoney said the double murder “fanned the flames of fear and lawlessness”, saying that Mills had shown no remorse for his involvement in the attack.

He called for the courts to run the sentences for premeditated murder and using a firearm consecutively, noting a recent ruling by the Privy Council.

However, defence lawyer Elizabeth Christopher said such a ruling would result in Mills receiving a longer sentence than Roberts, who had pulled the trigger.

Mr Mahoney informed the court that the Crown fully intended to appeal the sentencing of Roberts to increase his sentence in light of the Privy Council ruling.

Addressing the court himself, Mills maintained his innocence, saying: “I want the family of Haile know that I had nothing to do with the murder of my cousin.”

Mr Justice Greaves noted the history of firearms sentences in the island, noting that minimum tariffs had reached as high as 40 years before a ruling of London’s Privy Council established that the maximum tariff for premeditated murder in Bermuda was 25 years, severely constraining the court.

However, he said amendments had extended the court’s sentencing powers in such cases, and the latest Privy Council ruling had given the courts an additional sentencing tool by allowing the sentence for using a firearm to run consecutive to the tariff for the substantive offence.

He said that he believed the Crown has a good case to appeal the sentence of Roberts, and that the evidence in the case showed a “powerful inference” that Mills played a more significant role in the shooting than Duerr.

Given all of the facts of the case, he sentenced Mills to serve at least 25 years of a life sentence for premeditated murder and ten years for the use of a firearm to commit the murders, ordering that those sentences run consecutively. He also ordered that the sentence be counted from the date of conviction, stating that any time spent in prison prior to that was part of a sentence for a separate matter.• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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