Gardner jailed for at least 45 years
Double murderer Wolda Gardner will have to wait until he is 79 before he can be considered for release by the parole board.
Gardner, 35, broke down in tears yesterday as he was jailed for life for the premeditated murder of Malcolm Augustus in the early hours of Christmas Day 2012 near the St George’s Golf Course.
Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ordered that Gardner would serve a minimum of 20 years behind bars for the fatal shooting before he could be considered for release.
It is the second life sentence that has been handed down to Gardner who was convicted of the 2010 murder of George Lynch in September 2014 along with Rickai Dickerson.
In that case the minimum term he had to spend in jail before he could be considered for release was set at 25 years.
Yesterday Justice Simmons ordered that the two minimum terms should run consecutive to each other meaning Gardner will not be eligible for release for 45 years since that first murder conviction.
Gardner was convicted of murdering Mr Augustus in April, while his co-defendant, Patrick Stamp, was cleared by the jury of all charges
During yesterday’s sentencing hearing a victim impact statement by Mr Augustus’ mother, Keisha Trott, was read to the court by prosecutor Cindy Clarke.
In it Ms Trott says: “A mother never thinks of having to bury her child. My first born gunned down on Christmas Day; you can only imagine the anguish that every holiday and birthday brings.
“Joyous and momentous days, now filled with sorrow. I’ll never see my son smile or ever hear his voice again. I’m stuck holding on to memories and pictures. Christmas will never be the same again.”
Referring directly to her son’s killer in the statement Ms Trott added: “You had no right to take my son’s life.
“You knew he had stolen your weed so why not confront him like men. A simple fist fight instead of a gun.
“I taught my son to stand his ground no matter what. Now your senseless killing of my son has devastated my family. It’s a daily battle having to cope with his loss.”
During his trial Gardner, who worked as a tour guide in St George’s, denied any part in the attack on Mr Augustus and maintained he had not been the one who pulled the trigger. Yesterday at Supreme Court he made an emotional plea to Justice Simmons to “have regard for all the circumstances of the case and all the circumstances of my life”.
He said Mr Augustus was a cousin of his and that the killing had caused pain and division within his family.
“I am scared to be in trouble,” he said. “I am trying to put everything forward in a positive way.
“I admit that a good scare has been better than good advice, and I am scared.
“Life imprisonment means life imprisonment for me.”