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52 Years In Jail For Maxo Tido

By LAMECH JOHNSON Tribune Staff Reporter ljohnson@tribunemedia.net FORMER death row inmate and murder convict Maxo Tido spent the first night of his new 52-year sentence at Her Majesty's Fox Hill prison last night after being resentenced for killing 16-year-old Donnell Connover. Tido's exit from the Supreme Court, flanked by police, brought about closure for the teen's mother, Lavern Connover, who has mourned for her daughter throughout the 10 years that the case has been before the courts. Ms Connover said: "I was looking for more years, but I can live with that. I could put a little closure to it now and move on with my life." Tido, who was sentenced to die in 2006, saw this decision overturned by the London-based Privy Council in June of 2011. On March 20, 2006, a jury convicted Tido of murdering 16-year-old Donnell Connover in 2002. Her body was found off Cowpen Road, battered and bruised, her skull crushed. Evidence also revealed that parts of Ms Connover's body were burned after her death. A month after his conviction, then Senior Justice Anita Allen (now Court of Appeal President) ruled that the crime committed by Tido warranted the death penalty. The decision came days after the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence in place up until that point in the Bahamas was not constitutional. In 2009, the Committee for the Prerogative of Mercy decided the law should take its course, as Tido's case was not one that warranted mercy. However, Tido appealed to the Privy Council, the highest court of appeal recognised in the Bahamas, which ruled that the killing of Connover did not warrant execution. Consequently, he had to reappear before the Supreme Court for resentencing. However, his resentencing, presided over by Senior Justice Jon Isaacs, had been delayed on several occasions since last November. Absent attorneys, missing documents, and the hiring of two new attorneys were the reasons for the delays up to yesterday. However, new attorney Richard Bootle came prepared for court and the proceedings went on without a hitch. Probation officer Christina Swain of the Rehabilitative Services Department gave her report on Tido's conduct and progression since his incarcerations based on speaking with him. In her summation, she said that Tido maintained his innocence of the matter and only expressed remorse and took responsibility for not returning her home safely on a consensual night out. Tido felt that he had suffered from his "limited involvement" in the matter and should be released from prison. Regarding progress, she said Tido had repeatedly broken a number of prison rules while he was detained. Mr Bootle asked Senior Justice Jon Isaacs for leniency in the circumstances of his client having been affected by his mother's abandonment at a tender age and nonexistent father. He said his client had only one previous conviction, carrying arms, that was served in 2005, well before the 2006 conviction. He said his client's case, also taking into account Tido's maintaining innocence, but accepting responsibility for not taking the girl home, did not warrant life imprison. He said Tido ought to be given a chance to return to society and make restitution for the crime. In response, the judge said he took into consideration the circumstances surrounding the incident and the two years Tido served on remand before being convicted. While he acknowledged it was Tido's right to reserve his innocence on the matter, however the jury had convicted. The judge said he would act on that conviction. "I have not found in you true remorse," he told the convict. He gave the man 52 years after subtracting the eight years served in prison during the last decade. The sentence began from yesterday's proceeding.

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