'Determined and dangerous' killer sentenced to 38 years prison
“Determined and dangerous” killer Antonio Myers is today beginning a 38-year prison sentence for slaying rival gangster Kumi Harford in a hail of bullets.
Myers and an unknown accomplice opened fire on the 30-year-old victim as he sat in his car on St Monica's Road, Pembroke, early on December 5, 2009.
At least 12 shots were fired from two different guns. Four bullets hit the victim, who has a young son. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. The other gunman remains at large.
Speaking after 26-year-old Myers was jailed yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector Nicholas Pedro said: “The significant sentence imposed by the court will hopefully act as a deterrent to others who may contemplate involvement in criminality, and will hopefully send a reassuring message to the community that the police, prosecutors and court take offences of this nature very seriously.”
He said the case is “not a closed matter” and police are still seeking information on anyone else involved in the killing.
Myers' trial in March heard that the guns used in the murder have also been used in eight other murders and attempted murders, including an attempt on the life of Kumi Harford's brother, Jakai Harford.
The Harford brothers were described by witnesses as members of the 42 gang that haunts the St Monica's Road area, while Myers was a member of the rival Middletown / Parkside faction.
Prosecutors alleged that Myers shot Kumi Harford in retribution for an incident earlier that night where a 42 gang member, David Cox, threw a drink at a woman associated with Middletown / Parkside.
According to Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field, Mr Harford was killed simply because he was the wrong place at the wrong time when Myers was seeking revenge.
“It just happened that Kumi Harford was unlucky enough to be sitting in his car; the danger was to anyone sitting in that area that night. You may consider from the evidence that if it hadn't been Kumi Harford, it would have been someone else,” said Mr Field.
Jailing Myers, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves described the killing as “vengeful” and “a retaliation far in excess of the act which activated it.”
He condemned him for the fact that the guns and accomplice are still at large and he's given no help to the authorities to find them.
Mr Justice Greaves said the killer “stalked” his victim in his own neighbourhood. He also described Myers as “a very determined and dangerous man with the audacity to lie in wait for him (Mr Harford)”.
One of the key factors in bringing Myers to justice was the willingness of two men from the streets; homeless drug addicts Andrew Laws, 52, and Edwin Darrell, 55, to testify against him. The pair said they'd heard Myers talk about destroying evidence from the killing. Mr Darrell said Myers even confessed to the murder when he bumped into him minutes after it happened.
Mr Laws and Mr Darrell have now been relocated overseas as part of the witness protection programme.
Armed police who arrived on Myers' Middletown home turf soon after the killing found several items of his clothing on a bonfire behind a house he hung out at. The clothes had his DNA on them, and two items also contained gunshot residue that proved his role in the crime.
The jury found the defendant, who is nicknamed Stone, guilty of murder by unanimous verdict. He stared straight ahead with a scowl on his face throughout the sentencing proceedings yesterday and declined an invitation to address the court.
A pre-sentence report described Myers as someone who poses a high risk of re-offending and is impulsive, unresponsive to treatment and lacking in insight. He has previous convictions dating back to his youth for theft, burglary, drug possession and knife possession. He finished his last jail sentence in December 2008, just one year before he murdered Mr Harford.
Defence lawyer Jerome Lynch said: “Some may argue that he's a product of a society that's failed him. When gang culture and loyalty take over from family and employment it suggests there's an element that's given up hope.”
He said Myers realised he would get a long sentence, and could prove to be an older man who has changed for the better by the time he is eligible for parole.
“We invite you not to crush him with a sentence that leaves him with nothing to look forward to and nothing for the parole board [to consider],” he urged Mr Justice Greaves.
Myers will not be eligible for release until he has served 38 years but could stay in jail longer if the parole board considers that he is still dangerous. The time he has spent behind bars since being charged with murder on May 31 2010 will be taken into account. That means Myers, who has two young children and was born in April 1985, will not be released until he is at least 63 years old.
His family cried in the public gallery at Supreme Court as the sentence was meted out.
Three killers have been sentenced to a total of 111 years behind bars in the past two months.
Yesterday, Antonio Myers, a member of the Middletown / Parkside faction, was jailed for 38 years for murdering gang rival Kumi Harford on December 5 2009.
He carried out the killing in revenge after a 42 gang member, David Cox, threw a drink at one of his associates in the Devonshire Recreation Club.
Cox, a father of one, was himself jailed for 38 years on July 19 for another gangland slaying; that of Raymond “Yankee” Rawlins on August 9 2010.
As in the Myers case, it was a revenge attack against someone from a rival faction.
Cox pulled the trigger on Mr Rawlins, who had links to Middletown / Parkside gang, because someone from 42 had been shot at the Mid-Atlantic Boat Club earlier that night.
Puisne Judge described the two cases as “Siamese twins” yesterday. Both killers had accomplices who remain at large and both used guns that are still loose on the streets.
On July 26, Kevin Warner was locked up for 35 years for shooting 24-year-old Dekimo “Purple” Martin dead. Warner was just 20 when he shot his friend Mr Martin in the back at his own home. No motive for the killing has ever been established.
Warner's sentencing hearing heard that he become a father to twins since committing the crime.
All three killers will only become eligible for parole once the minimum terms set by the judge have been served. They may never be released if the parole board considers them too dangerous.
All of the cases occurred since an upsurge in gun violence in Bermuda that began in May 2009 and has been largely attributed to gang turf wars.
A total of 16 men have been killed. Twelve of the cases remain unsolved and another remains under review after two men were cleared by a jury of murder charges in July.