Men get 40 years for footballer’s murder
The murderers of footballer Randy Robinson have been jailed for life — with 40 years before any chance of parole.
The unprecedented sentence was hailed by police as a “strong message” that would be heeded by would-be gunmen.
Killers Jay Dill, 23, and Devon Hewey, 24, protested their innocence to the end — but Detective Inspector Michael Redfern said the case against them was backed by “very clear, strong forensic evidence”.
“These two young men have ruined their lives by taking another young man’s innocent life, and now are going to spend most of their lives in prison.”
He thanked the public for “a great deal of assistance”, along with “the family of Randy, his parents and his close friends, who have been patient with us”.
Mr Robinson, a father-of-one shot dead at Border Lane North, Devonshire on March 31, 2011, had assiduously avoided being connected with gangs, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves told Supreme Court at yesterday’s sentencing.
His unrepentant killers, both members of the 42 gang, rattled their handcuffs as their sentences were passed, with Dill muttering “bulls**t”.
The two sat in the dock of a heavily policed courtroom as prosecutor Garrett Byrne read a statement from parents Randy Spence and Roydelle Robinson.
“What has kept me focused since Randy’s murder is the promise I made at the funeral home,” Mr Robinson’s mother wrote.
“I promised him that whoever did this would pay.”
Girlfriend Dwanae Simons also mourned that Mr Robinson’s killers could get visits in prison — but their victim lies in St John’s cemetery.
“I honestly expected better from both of you,” Ms Simons’ statement said, showing how near the victim lived to the neighbourhood linked with the 42 gang.
Of Hewey, Ms Simons added: “You would do anything to make a name for yourself.”
The statement also said: “At least now you will have time to sit and reflect on your gutless and spineless actions.”
The two, both from Pembroke, were each convicted of premeditated murder, plus the use of a firearm.
Their 40-year sentences, Mr Justice Geaves said, reflected both the total lack of gang involvement of their victim, and the recurring use of “a rider and shooter” in gang-fuelled murders.
For this reason, while Dill shot Mr Robinson and Hewey drove the bike, both received equal sentences.
Mr Byrne described the shooting as “execution style” — directed in part at Mr Robinson because he had cousins in the rival Parkside gang.
“They were intent on killing somebody that night, and they launched a cowardly attack in the dark,” he said. Dill pointed the gun at a nearby witness as well.
Mr Byrne added: “They have no remorse at all and continue to deny their guilt.”
Dill’s defence lawyer, Larry Mussenden, retorted that the social inquiry report writer had never asked his client whether he had remorse.
His client was “very sad and remorseful that Mr Robin was killed”, but insisted he wasn’t the murderer.
Dill intends to “fight to clear his name”, Mr Mussenden added on his client’s instruction.
Lawyer Shade Subair, representing Hewey, argued that her client was lower in the gang’s hierarchy and as the driver of the bike played a more subordinate role.
Invited to speak, Dill told the court he was sorry for the grieving family, but still maintained that he was innocent.
“I don’t ask for sympathy or nothing, but I ask you to sit there and think about what I’m going through,” he added. “A life sentence for a life I don’t take.”
Hewey told the court: “At the end of the day, justice ain’t served.”
A jury in February found them both guilty by unanimous verdict.
Jay Dill and Devon Hewey murdered an innocent man who took pains to avoid any gang involvement, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves, yesterday, told Supreme Court.
“He changed his club. He changed his barber. He went to and fro in his own mother’s car,” Mr Justice Greaves noted.
“He was a law-abiding citizen in all regards. Yet the evidence shows some members of the 42nd gang seemed to feel he was too big for his boots.”
The victim’s “one sin that he could not avoid was being first cousin of two gangsters of the opposing Parkside gang”.
Before sentencing Dill and Hewey to life in prison, with 40 years before they are eligible for a parole hearing, the judge decried the vendetta ethic of gangs who would target anyone with a link, no matter how tenuous, to a rival group.
“There is a very sinister message in that mantra,” he said.
The message in response should be “strong and clear”, he continued.
“We will not fear you. We will pursue you. We will hold you, we will prosecute you, we will try you, we will convict you, and we will imprison you for such long periods, you will be useless thereafter in your pursuit of such ideals as you practise.”
Gang violence in Bermuda means that “men can no longer trust those they grew up with. They can no longer trust those who sat in school with them.”
He branded the case worse than other premeditated gun killings, because the target was “an innocent man who tried everything he could to stay away from that kind of activity.”
For that reason, Dill’s sentence went beyond case precedent, to a 40-year minimum.
“Regardless of what you now say, you were the shooter,” Mr Justice Greaves told him, to which Dill muttered: “Bulls**t.”
Undeterred, the judge turned to Hewey, noting: “There is a particular pattern in Bermuda about these shootings. In every gang murder case so far tried in this jurisdiction, there was always an assistant.”
The “rider”, Hewey, was “in my view equally responsible for the shooting”.
Both men got life sentences with the 40-year stipulation, plus 12 years for the use of the gun, to run concurrently.