Court Dismisses Appeal In Double Murder Case

August 6, 2018

The court has dismissed an appeal by Romano Mills who was convicted in connection with the double murder of Rico Furbert and Haile Outerbridge on Happy Valley in 2013.

The ruling said, “On 23 January 2013 Rico Furbert and Haile Outerbridge were brutally shot and killed at Belvin’s Supermarket in Happy Valley Road, Hamilton. The Crown’s case was that Le-Veck Roberts was the shooter and that Gariko Benjamin and the Appellant, Romano Mills, were present at the scene as aiders and abettors.

“A fourth man, Christoph Duerr, was the armourer who provided the gun. Roberts and Duerr were tried in 2015 and both convicted of their pre-meditated murder. Duerr’s conviction for murder was subsequently set aside on appeal and a conviction for being an accessory after the fact substituted.

“Mills and Benjamin were tried in May 2017 before Greaves J and a jury. Near to the close of the prosecution’s case Benjamin pleaded guilty to murder, rather than pre-meditated murder and this plea was accepted by the Crown.

“The trial continued against the Appellant alone, and on 9 June 2017 he was convicted unanimously of two counts of pre-meditated murder, one count of taking a motorcycle without authority and two counts of using a firearm to commit an indictable offence.

“The Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period to serve of 25 years before eligibility for consideration for parole, but with 10 years’ imprisonment for each of the firearms offences to be concurrent with each other but consecutive to the 25 year period.

“The killings were gang related. On 9 November 2012 Roberts complained to the police that shots had been fired at his house, just under his bedroom window. He was a member of M.O.B and told the police he believed that members of Parkside were trying to kill him.

“The Crown’s case was that it was decided to retaliate and kill someone from the Parkside area. That was the motive for the killing of Furbert and Outerbridge. The case against the Appellant was that he was an associate of M.O.B. and the manager of the guns.

“He obtained them from Duerr, who was their keeper, and provided them to Roberts. He was present when the shootings took place and was one of the riders of the three bikes seen on CCTV footage at the scene.

“Although not physically identified, cell site evidence showed his phone to be in the area at close to the material time and members of M.O.B. would not ordinarily be expected to be in Parkside territory around 9.00pm, absent an ulterior motive.

“The case against the Appellant was based on circumstantial evidence. He did not seek to refute the inferences that could properly be drawn from this evidence with his own evidence and the jury was left to draw inferences from the evidence that they had.

“The key witness was Duerr, whose evidence the prosecution accepted was essential to their case. The judge gave an appropriate warning about the evidence of an accomplice and the jury clearly accepted his evidence. I would dismiss the appeal.”

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