By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Court of Appeal has dismissed a man’s appeal of his 50-year sentence for murdering a Cash for Gold employee during the course of an armed robbery in Grand Bahama six years ago.
Appellate justices Jon Isaacs, Stella Crane-Scott and Milton Evans unanimously dismissed Natario Walkins’ appeal of his half-century sentence for killing Christopher Outten at Deadman’s Reef in January 2013.
Natario Walkins is the latest to have his appeal dismissed in connection with the fatal armed robbery. His brother, Harrison Walkins, had his appeal of his 15-year sentence for conspiring to rob Mr Outten dismissed last year.
Another man, Valentino Bethel, had his 40-year sentence for murder in connection with the crime affirmed because he waited more than two years before applying to appeal his sentence.
However, another man previously convicted in connection with the crime, Shawn Collie, was acquitted by the Court of Appeal last October because of the “tenuous nature” of the Crown’s evidence against him.
According to the evidence at trial, Outten and his wife Anna were the operators of US Gold/Cash for Gold in the Jireh Plaza. Mrs Outten was the manager of three stores located in the Jireh’s Plaza, Eight Mile Rock and in the International Bazaar.
Mr Outten ran the store in Eight Mile Rock.
At about 4pm on the date in question, the couple closed the store and went to Eight Mile Rock in a Ford F-150 truck. They stopped at their home in Deadman’s Reef to pick up a fish pot they wanted to place in the water by the dock in the Bahama Bay Area.
However, they forgot the rope they needed to tie the fish pot to the dock so they returned to their home.
When the couple arrived at their residence, and after Mr Outten had made it to their porch steps, a masked man armed with a handgun came from the west side of the house and ordered Mr Outten to get down on the ground. Mr Outten, though, put his hands on the top of the truck.
Mrs Outten, meanwhile, ran to her neighbour’s residence, leaving her Gucci bag in the truck. While running, she heard what sounded like two gunshots. When she returned, she found her husband had been shot.
The police were contacted and upon arrival found Mr Outten shot to death in the driver’s seat of his truck. His pants pocket was pulled out and a pink poncho was missing along with a gold chain and charm. Additionally, Mrs Outten’s Gucci bag was missing.
Walkins was later arrested and questioned by the police in the presence of his lawyer about the conspiracy, armed robbery and murder. He was later charged along with three others, namely his brother Harrison, Valentino Bethel and Shawn Collie. He was subsequently arraigned before the Supreme Court with one count of murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
On 3 November, 2014, his trial began in Freeport Grand Bahama.
At the trial, one of the Crown’s key witnesses, Omar Rolle, testified that in December of 2012, he was contacted by Collie, who is his cousin, who instructed him to meet him at Burger King, in the downtown area. He went to the location and upon arriving there met Collie along with Bethel, and the Walkins brothers.
Rolle said Collie told him and the others that he (Collie) sold Mr Outten some gold, and that Mr Outten had two residences—one uptown and one in “the Rocks”. Collie further told them that when they hold Mr Outten and his wife, they were to bring all the gold and keep the money for themselves, and to not hurt the woman. Collie wanted Rolle to kidnap the Outtens when they got to their home in Eight Mile Rock.
Rolle said after Collie explained everything, he told Collie he was going to get back to him. He told Collie to give him some time.
After the meeting, Rolle said he went to US Gold to warn Mr Outten of the plot to rob him. Rolle said that in the presence of Mr Outten and a police inspector who had been summoned by Mr Outten and who arrived in a K-9 Explorer jeep, he contacted Collie by telephone and put him on speaker. It was at this time that Collie reiterated the plan to kidnap the Outtens, not to hurt Mrs Outten, and that the gold was for him (Collie) while Rolle and the others could share the money.
The Crown also called a witness, Ryan Pinder, who, while giving evidence principally against Natario Walkins, called Collie’s name as a person involved in the conspiracy to rob Mr Outten. During his examination, Mr Pinder, when giving evidence of what Natario Walkins had told him, mentioned that “Tattoo Man” did certain things.
Mr Pinder recounted how Natario Walkins told him “Tattoo Man” put the “plan together for Lil Man and Valentino, Natario and his brother, to rob the Cash for Gold man”. Mr Pinder also spoke of Collie being angry because he did not get his cut out of the money taken from Mr Outten.
On November 20, 2014, Walkins was found guilty of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery and murder. On January 22, 2015, he was sentenced to 50 years for murder, 25 years for armed robbery and 15 years for conspiracy to run concurrently.