By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JUDGE has been asked to impose the maximum penalties of imprisonment for two men convicted of playing a role in the death of a former Ocean Club employee who was killed during a failed robbery.
Koschina Marshall, trial prosecutor in the murder and attempted armed robbery case of Dominic Thompson, and Julien McKenzie, told Justice Carolita Bethell yesterday that the widow of slain victim Domingo Duncan wants the pair to receive “the maximum penalties for their irresponsible actions”.
The judge has reserved her decision on sentencing for the pair until February 2 at 2pm concerning the April 2013 incident.
Duncan was standing by his Ford Explorer when he was accosted and subsequently shot. He was taken to hospital by EMS where he died of his injuries.
Last August, a jury acquitted the men of murder, but found Thompson guilty of manslaughter and attempted armed robbery. McKenzie was only convicted of attempted robbery.
While manslaughter carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment, the Court of Appeal decision of Larry Raymond Jones recommends that judges impose a penalty of 18 to 35 years.
Attempted armed robbery is treated the same as armed robbery which also carries a sentence of up to life imprisonment. Someone convicted of attempted robbery could face up to 14 years imprisonment.
According to evidence produced at trial, McKenzie – the driver – and Thompson had left the Magic City nightclub and gone to Bluewaters Lounge.
Once there, Thompson and a man called “Tech” - who was armed with a gun - approached Duncan planning to rob him. When that failed, shots were fired and they ran.
Two eyewitnesses who saw and spoke with Duncan before the shooting said they saw McKenzie’s car circle the area three times.
McKenzie denied this, however, as he said he had dropped Thompson off at the lounge before heading home. He said upon arriving at the intersection of Wulff and Baillou Hill Roads, he noticed police lights at the top of the hill and headed back to where he had left the accused.
However, there was a roadblock and police told him that the area was closed off. Thompson, for his part, denied being a part of “Tech’s” plan to rob Duncan. He said he was only standing behind “Tech” at the time and was scared after the gun went off.
In yesterday’s sentencing hearing, probation reports were presented to the judge concerning the background of the convicts prior to their run-in with the law.
McKenzie was noted as an outstanding young man who came from a supportive family structure and was weeks away from completing a culinary degree at The College of The Bahamas.
Thompson, raised by a single mother, completed high school and maintained employment after graduation, including his last occupation as a port-runner at Lynden Pindling International Airport.
The reports note that both maintain their innocence of the crimes, but were remorseful for the loss of life.
Murrio Ducille, lawyer for McKenzie, stressed to the judge that his client “unequivocally has no previous convictions.”
“In as much as he’s been convicted, its instructive to know that he has job offers waiting for him,” the lawyer said.
Mr Ducille noted that punishment in the sentencing phase “does not have to be retributive.”
“Considering the factual circumstances, there’s nothing in his past to indicate any predisposition to anything nefarious,” Mr Ducille added.
The lawyer said that the court had the discretion in law to impose probation and argued that his client was a fit candidate for the leniency.
Attorney Christina Galanos noted that notwithstanding Thompson’s conviction for the offence, there were a number of mitigating factors for the court to consider.
“Based upon the evidence, Mr Thompson was not the shooter nor did he have a gun,” the lawyer stressed.
“The court should also consider his relative youth at the time of the incident,” she added.
In acknowledging that Thompson was recently convicted between May 2013 and November 2015 of receiving, armed robbery, burglary and stealing and sentenced to no more than five years collectively, Ms Galanos stressed that her client had pleaded guilty in those matters from the outset.
“And to Mr Thompson’s credit, he’s not breached any infractions at the prison,” Ms Galanos said.
She asked the court to impose a sentence of five to eight years for attempted armed robbery and 10 to 15 years for the manslaughter conviction.
Ms Marshall, in her submissions to the court, said: “The affluency of an individual, the fact that the individual has support or is a college student does not negate the fact that such a person can commit a crime.”
“The intention of a person is gleaned from his actions and/or words at the time of the issue at hand,” the prosecutor added.
Ms Marshall noted that Thompson knew it was likely that someone could be killed once it became known that “Tech” was in possession of a firearm.
She also said that Thompson admitted during the trial that he lied in a bail affidavit concerning his whereabouts at the time of the incident.
Ms Marshall supported calls from relatives of Duncan for both men to receive the maximum penalties for the respective crimes.