Gunman jailed for 14 years
An alleged gang member caught with drugs and a firearm linked to three murders, plus one attempted murder, has been jailed for a total of 14 years.
Ramano Mills, 27, of Seawall Drive, Sandys, had to be shot twice with a Taser by police while he struggled to reach the loaded weapon tucked in his sock.
The 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a Smith and Wesson 669 that contained ten live rounds, was the same weapon used in three gang-linked murders — two of which remain unsolved.
Forensics shows it was fired in the premeditated murder of Dekimo (Purple) Martin on May 28, 2010, for which Kevin Warner was convicted a year later.
No one has yet been charged for the murders with the same gun of Colford Ferguson on February 4, 2011, or Lorenzo Stovell, on September 23, 2012.
The gun was also used in the attempted murder of Randy Lightbourne, who was shot seven times on July 23, 2010. Marico Bassett was later convicted.
According to the Crown, the weapon belonged to the West End gang Money over Bitches, or MOB. It was fired in three other incidents in which victims were unknown.
Mills has refused to tell police how he acquired it.
According to prosecutor Nicole Smith, the gunman was caught in a raid by armed police on June 18, 2013, as officers descended on the Broome Street, Sandys home of Khyri Smith-Williams.
Mr Smith-Williams, who wore an ankle bracelet while on bail, was to be arrested for breaching bail.
As police positioned themselves around the house, one of them spotted Cordova Marshall and asked him where the suspect was.
Mr Marshall and another men didn't answer but went inside. Officers swarmed the house, noticing a smell of cannabis — at which point Mills fled, clutching a plastic bag.
Mills was tackled in the yard, where “a violent struggle ensued”, Ms Smith said. Police were eventually able to place a cuff on one of his wrists.
The accused yelled repeatedly to his friends while reaching down his lower right leg, where police saw a silver object that they initially took to be a knife.
Mills, still shouting, pulled one hand free and grabbed for the weapon in his sock.
He was tasered twice but reached again for the weapon after each five-second burst of electricity. As the struggle continued, a handgun fell to the ground.
Mills surrendered only when an officer drew his own firearm.
His bag contained 244g of cannabis in quarter-ounce bags that would have fetched $4,375 on Bermuda's streets. Mills had $2,162 in cash in his pocket.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply, within the environs of Sandys Secondary Middle School — an increased penalty zone — along with two counts of violently resisting arrest.
Mills denies the Crown's assertion that he is a member of the MOB gang, and maintained that he'd been too drunk at the time to remember much.
In his social inquiry report, Mills said the firearm wasn't his and claimed to be “surprised” it was there.
However, Ms Smith said the evidence pointed to Mills hiding the weapon for the gang, MOB.
“It was used to murder three young men, and in the attempted murder of another, who will have lifelong medical difficulties as a result of being shot seven times with this firearm,” she said.
“Although the defendant is not charged with use, he indicated it was not his own.
“The only inference is that he was harbouring it, or keeping it safe, so that it could be used by other members of the MOB gang to cause more harm and deaths.”
Yesterday in the Supreme Court, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons demanded an unequivocal plea, at which point Mills told defence lawyer Marc Daniels he no longer disputed having the gun.
Apologising to the court, Mills said his intoxication at the time had “a major influence on my poor and foolish decision”.
“I have set some goals in life that are far for me, and against all odds I have accomplished them,” added Mills, who has a college qualification, but has said he couldn't secure work.
“I plan on using my time to focus on my studies, my profession — I would ask you today to have mercy.”
Mr Daniels also told the court his client had panicked, and hadn't intended harm to the police.
Delivering her sentence, Mrs Justice Simmons told Mills: “While the court can't say you are a gang member, you must have known the provenance of that gun.”
The court was in “no doubt”, she said, that the weapon and bullets were in Mills's possession as “an adjunct to your intent to supply cannabis”.
His claim that he didn't know how he'd come into contact with a murder weapon “flies in the face of common sense”, she added.
Mills was jailed 12 years, concurrently, for possession of a gun and possession of ammunition.
Also concurrent were two six-month sentences for violently resisting arrest.
However, the drugs offence landed him a two-year sentence to follow, totalling 14 years in jail, with time already spent in custody to be taken into account.
In addition, under Section 70P of the Criminal Code, Mills must serve half his sentence rather than the normal one-third before becoming eligible for parole.