By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A man was sentenced to two decades in prison yesterday for killing a man because the deceased threatened him and accused him of seeing his girlfriend three years ago.
Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson sentenced Christopher McQueen to 20 years and two months in prison for killing Martin Nixon in August 2016.
McQueen walked away from a verbal altercation with Nixon, but allowed his “ego and anger” to cause him to return and confront the man, ultimately leading to his death.
Justice Grant-Thompson said she originally contemplated sentencing McQueen to 30 years in prison, but shaved off one-third of the time because he saved precious judicial time by admitting to the offence of manslaughter.
She also said the sentence takes into account the 38 months McQueen spent on remand awaiting trial. Thus, McQueen will serve a “continued term” of 17 years from June 5, 2018, the date of his conviction.
Justice Grant-Thompson further recommended that McQueen receive anger management classes, and also ordered that he be allowed to attend classes in his chosen field while incarcerated to improve his skills upon his return to society.
The judge also scolded McQueen for committing such a “brazen” crime in “broad daylight”, and asserted that “a calmer head should have prevailed” instead of him “re-engaging” the deceased.
McQueen’s sentence came roughly two months after he apologised to Nixon’s family and asserted that he wishes he was the one who was killed because he has been tormented by his actions ever since.
In reading a handwritten apology addressed to Nixon’s loved ones in court, McQueen said he has been haunted “day and night” ever since he made the “terrible” decision to shoot the deceased.
McQueen said he is “very sorry and remorseful” for Nixon’s death, insisting that while he and the other man had their “differences”, he was still wrong for “taking matters into my own hands” and snuffing out the 27-year-old’s life.
Further acknowledging that his actions left a “scar” in the hearts and minds of Nixon’s family that “cannot be removed”, McQueen pleaded for the family, as well as God, to “have mercy” on him “for the wrong I’ve done”.
However, he said he would understand if Nixon’s family members do not want to forgive him.
According to the facts, McQueen was hanging out at S&Y Sporting Lounge on Blue Hill Road south on the date in question. He left the lounge and walked towards a nearby store to purchase a cigar.
While walking towards the store, he saw Nixon and his girlfriend in the road arguing. As McQueen approached the pair, Nixon accused his girlfriend of “seeing other people” and turned to look in McQueen’s direction. When McQueen asked Nixon who he was referring to, Nixon said he meant him and stated, “You know we get all the guns.”
McQueen said he felt threatened, and consequently returned to the lounge. While there, he told his friend, Kyle Newbold, his former co-accused, about what had happened.
McQueen said Newbold suggested that they go back to where Nixon and his girlfriend were, and said he agreed with the plan.
McQueen said as they were walking towards the area where Nixon was, the deceased walked towards them with his hand under his shirt. Newbold subsequently pulled out a gun from his trousers. McQueen then took the gun from Newbold and shot Nixon once in the leg; however, three bullets came out of the gun.
McQueen and Newbold subsequently left the scene and returned to the lounge, where McQueen said he called for an ambulance. He did not remain in the area, however, and was arrested several days later.
Nixon, meanwhile, was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries early the next morning.
Both McQueen and another man, Kyle Newbold, were charged with Nixon’s death. However, On May 3, 2019, the Crown discontinued the case against Newbold via a nolle prosequi, as that man had agreed to testify against McQueen.
McQueen, meanwhile, eventually ended up pleading guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter by provocation. The Crown subsequently petitioned the court to impose a sentence between 18 to 35 years, while his attorney Bjorn Ferguson asked for a ten-year sentence.
During one of the sentencing hearings, McQueen expressed his desire to apologise to Nixon’s family, stemming from his previous intimations to a probation officer that he wished he could apologise because he “did not intend” to kill Nixon.
When he finally got the opportunity to apologise in court, McQueen read an apology letter he wrote himself to Martin’s family.
“Dear mother and father of Martin, with (all) respect due, I would like to tell all the family that I am very sorry and remorseful for your loss,” McQueen said. “And I, Christopher McQueen, with deepest apologies, know I am wrong for what I have done to the Nixon family; I made a scar that cannot be removed.
“I wish it was me instead of Martin. Even though we had our differences, I am still wrong for taking maters into my own hands and took away the life of Martin. It haunts me day and night for all of the terrible things I’ve done.
“I, Christopher McQueen ask for your mercy, and dear Lord to have mercy upon me for the wrong I’ve done. And if the family of Martin could find it in their hearts to forgive me—and that’s okay if you cannot. I understand. But I am very sorry about what happened to Martin.”
Yesterday, Justice Grant-Thompson said she noted that McQueen’s contrition was “evident” during all of his court hearings. Additionally, she said the young man appeared “pained” at the “distress” he caused Nixon’s family as he listened to them giving evidence during his sentencing hearings.
Justice Grant-Thompson further stated that although McQueen didn’t admit to killing Nixon until a jury had already been empaneled and his previous co-defendant was slated to testify against him, “it is never too late to do good”.
Justice Grant-Thompson also said she considered McQueen’s personal history when deciding on a sentence. According to a probation officer, McQueen was reared in a nuclear family until the age of six, when his parents separated. As a result, his relationship with his father, after whom he is named, was fractured until his teenage years.
McQueen matriculated through both the public and private school systems until the 10th grade, when he became a teen father and dropped out of school. However, he pursued higher education a few years later at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), and earned a certificate in auto mechanics.
McQueen then sought employment and worked at various places until approximately a few months before his incarceration for the offence.
According to the probation officer, the people she interviewed spoke favourably of McQueen’s character. He was described as a quiet, mannerly, supportive and attentive father. One former employer described the young man as a great employee and someone who stayed to himself, the probation officer said.
She also said the people she interviewed expressed shock at McQueen’s criminal actions. According to the probation officer, McQueen’s mother even stated that “his actions is not the person that she knows”.