Benjamin gets life for Belvin’s double murder

  • Gariko Benjamin (File photograph)

    Gariko Benjamin (File photograph)

A fourth man has been jailed for his role in the double murder of Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.

Gariko Benjamin was jailed for life at Supreme Court yesterday and told he would serve a minimum of 25 years behind bars before he can be considered for parole.

Mr Outerbridge and Mr Furbert were shot dead inside the Belvin’s Variety store on Happy Valley Road on the evening of January 23, 2013.

Benjamin, 25, was present at the murder scene and when he was detained, police found traces of gunshot residue on his body. Prosecutors maintained that he had helped the gunman, LeVeck Roberts, get home after the shooting.

But Benjamin fled the country to Africa and the United States while on police bail. He remained on the run for about two years until he was brought back to Bermuda to face trial.

Benjamin initially stood trial with Romano Mills this year, but just as prosecutors were about to put “powerful” mobile phone evidence before the jury, he dramatically changed his plea and entered guilty pleas to the two murder charges.

Yesterday afternoon, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves described the double murder as a “terrible crime” that was part of the “gang warfare” that plagued Bermuda at the time.

He also condemned Benjamin for trying to “manipulate and abuse” the judicial system by trying to go back on the guilty pleas he entered to the murder charges during his trial.

“The evidence against this defendant was strong and compelling,” Mr Justice Greaves said. “He was a knowing, willing and intentional participant in this endeavour.

“He himself did not directly pull the trigger but he acted as a co-offender to a substantial degree.”

The judge added: “The taxpayers of this country have been put through much inconvenience and expense through the trials on this matter so far. The defendant now seeks to abuse the process by having a third trial by himself.

“It is a calculated effort to avoid the inevitable.”

During yesterday’s sentence, Benjamin was asked if there was anything he wanted to say before sentence was passed; he simply shook his head.

Previously, both Roberts, 21, and Mills, 30, were convicted of the premeditated murder of Mr Furbert and Mr Outerbridge after separate trials and jailed for life.

At their respective sentencings, Roberts and Mills were told they would serve a minimum of 25 years behind bars for the premeditated murders before they could be considered for release.

A fourth defendant Christopher Duerr successfully appealed against his convictions for premeditated murder in connection with the killings.

But he is still serving a ten-year prison term for possessing and looking after the firearm used in the Belvin’s shooting.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding 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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