Murderer Tucker to serve at least 35 years
A murderous gunman who chased down and shot a man in 2017 was sentenced to life behind bars yesterday.
Kiari Tucker, 23, was jailed for a minimum of 35 years for the murder of Morlan Steede, a Jamaican-born father of one.
Tucker was told he must serve at least 25 years before he is eligible for a parole hearing on the murder charge, and given an additional ten years for use of a firearm.
Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said Tucker stalked Mr Steede, chased him and shot him four times as he ran for his life.
Mr Justice Greaves said: “Despite his utterances, in his allocution that he is an innocent man, and despite his effort to mislead his family, his friends and others that he was, somehow, wrongly convicted, I think this is a case in which the defendant should take his responsibility, not only for taking Mr Steede’s life, but for throwing away his own.
“He had all opportunity to chart a proper course, but the evidence, and his record, shows he has chosen to live a life that has landed him, eventually, in the predicament he is now in.
“He is totally responsible for the situation he finds himself in today.”
The judge said Tucker had the benefit of a good education in Bermuda and overseas, but, by his own admission, decided to spend his days selling crack cocaine.
Mr Justice Greaves said video footage from Court Street showed Tucker in a “celebratory mood” after the killing.
Tucker, of Warwick, was found guilty in the Supreme Court last month by a unanimous jury verdict of the murder of married father of one Mr Steede, who was 30.
The jury heard that Mr Steede was chased through the Deepdale area of Pembroke on the night of November 3, 2017.
The gunman shot him three times in the back and once in his arm.
Mr Steede, known as Clappa, was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but died of his wounds.
He was the 35th gun death in Bermuda since 2009.
Tucker was arrested for the murder the next day after he was found hidden under clothes in a closet in his godmother’s apartment.
Tests later showed particles consistent with gunshot residue on his hands and on clothing found at his home.
Prosecutors also put forward evidence from a “gait expert” who said there were similarities between the way Tucker and the gunman walked.
Tucker denied involvement and said had spent most of the evening of the shooting selling crack cocaine, although he admitted he had gone to the Deepdale area to buy cannabis.
Victim impact statements from family members said Mr Steede was a loving father and a provider for his family, who avoided conflict.
Prosecutors said Tucker had “hunted” the victim, and that he went to Deepdale before the shooting to “scope out” the area.
The court also heard Tucker was jailed for unlawful wounding with a knife in 2016.
He was released from prison just two months before the murder of Mr Steede and was still on probation.
Susan Mulligan, for Tucker, said the defendant felt a great deal of sympathy for the pain suffered by Mr Steede’s family, but maintained that he had nothing to do with the shooting.
She argued that Tucker was a young man with the potential for rehabilitation and urged the court not to impose a sentence that would “crush him”.
Ms Mulligan said: “He is now 23. He was 21 at the time the offence for which he has been convicted was committed.
“He’s an intelligent young man. He has a family who care for him.
There’s no reason why he would not benefit from the rehabilitative services available to him.”
She suggested a total sentence tariff of between 20 and 25 years before eligibility for parole and said the court should not make the sentences for the murder and the firearm charge consecutive.
Tucker accused prosecutors and police of lying, said his lawyers failed him and claimed he was framed for the murder of his friend in a statement from the dock.
He said: “I never killed Clappa; I had no reason to. You are going to make me out to be a monster. All the statements you are about to make are lies.”
Tucker added: “PS. F**k you. You will be brought to judgment.”
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