Yesterday [July 20] two men were sentenced to 12 years and 12 months years in prison respectively for their involvement in a shooting last year near Gravity nightclub. Pelealkhai Williams, 23, and Jonathan Dill, 28, previously admitted their involvement in the shooting of Rodney Grimes in October 2011.
The Court previously heard the defendants both have ties to the 42 gang, while the victim had associations with other gangs, and that Williams was acting on orders from other gang members to shoot the victim.
The incident occurred in the old Clay House Inn parking lot near Gravity Nightclub, on North Shore Road, Devonshire at around 3.20am on October 8, 2011. The defendants and the victim had all been in the club, and the shooting occurred just after the club closed down and everyone was leaving for the night.
Mr Grimes, 25, was shot at close range and escaped serious injury with the bullet grazing his head and striking him in his ear. Williams is the self-confessed shooter, while Dill rode the get-away bike with Williams as passenger. Williams received 12 years, while Dill was sentenced to 12 months.
Pelealkhai Williams was convicted on one count of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm by shooting at Rodney Grimes with a loaded firearm on October 8, 2011. Williams was also convicted on a separate count of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence with a firearm.
Jonathan Dill was convicted of being an accessory after the fact and to wounding with intent. Dill had described himself as having helped Williams to enable him to get away from the scene, despite knowing that Williams had committed an offence.
Pealeakhai Williams was sentenced to 12 years and a three months suspended was activated. The nine months that Williams has already spent in custody will be taken into account. Williams’s accomplice, Jonathan Dill, was sentenced to 12 months in prison and the nine months that Dill has already spent in custody will be taken into account.
In a 90 minute sentencing session, the two sentences were handed down by Justice Patricia Dangor.
Before passing sentence, Justice Dangor said that Williams had been born in Israel to a Bermudian mother who had gone to Israel and had lived there in a settlement made up of mostly of black Americans, but with some Bermudians.
Justice Dangor said that this settlement was in an overcrowded area with poor accommodation. The Justice said that Mr Williams’s mother had disappeared when he was in his early teens but had re-appeared about four years after.
Justice Dangor said that Mr Williams was 17 when he came to Bermuda and within weeks of his arrival in Bermuda, he had run afoul of the law and had been in trouble in each of the years 2008 – 2011.
He had been given a 90 day prison sentence in 2011 and was last released from Westgate Correctional Facility in May 2011. At the time of the October 2011 shooting, Williams was under a 90 day suspended prison sentence.
Justice Dangor said that Williams had chosen his lifestyle in Bermuda and had chosen to associate with the gang members of ‘42’; and that he was lucky that the gun had jammed and could not fired at Grimes as Grimes lay, bleeding, on the ground.
The Justice said that Police reports had indicated that Mr Williams had been recognized by them as a gang member, but only since early 2010.
At yersterday’s hearing, in very short statements from the dock, both men had apologized for their behaviour with Williams adding: “I’m not proud of what I did.”
Prosecutor Cindy Clarke had recommended a sentence’ of 12 – 14 years for Williams, and between 18 and 24 months for Dill for his role as an accessory. She noted that both men have multiple previous convictions.
Williams was represented by lawyer Shade Subair, while Craig Attridge represented Dill. Both men were already in custody, and were lead from Court into an awaiting prison van to begin their sentences.
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