Gang member gets 25 years for Stovell murder
A 28-year-old gang member will spend the next 25 years behind bars for the “senseless, heartless and useless” murder of wheelchair-bound Lorenzo Stovell.
Travone Saltus opened fire at Mr Stovell as he sat in a minibus close to Woody's in Sandys in September 2012 to earn respect and “street cred” within the MOB gang.
Yesterday, Saltus was jailed for life by Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves at Supreme Court and told he would serve a minimum of 25 years in prison before he could even apply for parole.
“Here we are in Bermuda faced again with another tragic, senseless, heartless, useless killing,” Mr Justice Greaves said. “It seems that the hearts of men have hardened cold. These courts can only do what they have to do and hope the hearts of men warm again.”
The judge added: “Despite his condition, you found no sympathy for the victim, and with the assistance of your cohorts from the MOB gang, carried out this brutal shooting and murder.”
A jury found Saltus guilty of murder and using a firearm to commit murder after a two-week trial earlier this year.
During that trial the court heard that Mr Stovell, 24, had been seriously injured in a previous shooting and left in a wheelchair. On the evening of September 23, 2012, he joined family and friends on a “pub crawl” around the island on a minibus. He was shot four times as he tried to lunge for cover in the minibus and died within a minute or two of the shooting.
Witness Troy Harris told investigating detectives that Saltus had confessed to him that he had shot Mr Stovell just a few months after the murder.
Harris, who is now serving a prison sentence in England for assaulting a female, told police that Saltus had done it for “street cred” so that people wouldn't talk down to him.
Saltus never took the stand to give his version of events, nor did he say anything at his sentencing hearing yesterday.
A victim impact statement written by Mr Stovell's sister, Laurie Stovell, was read out in court by prosecutor Kenlyn Swan.
She described how her brother's death had left her and her family devastated and “broken-hearted”.
“Lorenzo was determined to walk again. (On the day of his death) I pleaded with Wa-wa (Mr Stovell) at Social Club to get off the bus as it was not safe for him to go to Woody's. He refused to get off and stated the only thing they could do was kill him; they are words that I will never ever forget.”
Ms Stovell added: “The trial process resurfaced all the pain I felt on September 23, 2012. I still have no emotions towards the verdict. I do not get my brother back, now another family has to feel similar pain. No one wins in this situation.”
Detective Superintendent Sean Field-Lament, with the Bermuda Police Service, said the sentence sends a “clear and unequivocal message”.
It stemmed, he said, from the efforts of investigators and prosecutors, as well as members of the community and “the courage of witnesses”.
“Despite this significant result, the BPS is mindful of the sobering fact that a life was tragically lost and another will now spend a considerable amount of time behind bars,” Mr Field-Lament said.
“On behalf of the BPS, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Lorenzo Stovell and hope that this outcome brings some closure.”
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