The Block 2000 man who was freed of a murder charge but convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to commit an offence to wit murder has been sentenced to 17 years and nine months in prison.
However, as Devon “Chiefman” Charles, 38, had already spent three years, two months and 17 days on remand when Justice Brian Cottle handed down the sentence at High Court No. 1 in Kingstown, on Thursday.
This means that Charles would only have to serve a further 14 years and six months and 13 days in prison.
Rose-Ann Richardson represented the Crown at Thursday’s hearing during which defence counsel, Duane Daniel argued that the jury’s verdict was illogical.
In handing down his sentence, Justice Cottle noted that Charles was charged that on Aug. 2, 2020, at Block 2000, Old Montrose, he murdered Kimron Hannaway aka “Warlord” and “Dog Man”, 28, and that he had in his possession a firearm with intent to commit an offence to wit murder.
“The jury was not sure that when he killed Hadaway he was not acting in self-defence,” the judge said.
He noted Charles’ age and the fact that he did not complete his formal secondary school education.
Charles’ mother emigrated to the United States when he was 13 and left him in the care of his father and other relatives. At age 21, he went to live on his own.
As a child, Charles attended church but has become non practicing Christians as an adult.
He would raise and sell pitfall terrier pups, is unmarried and has no children.
Justice Cottle said Charles’ convictions began in 2005 when he was 20 and include drug offences and possession of an unlicensed firearm. His last conviction before this case was 2016.
He said the facts of the case are that on Aug. 2, 2020, a Sunday, Paula Straker was on her way to church when she was set upon by two of Charles’ pit bull terriers.
Kimron Hadaway heard her cries for help and went to her assistance. He managed to fend the dogs off by using a cutlass he was using to cut a neighbouring yard.
Charles asked Hadaway why he was hitting the dogs and an argument ensued and Charles hurled a bottle at Hadaway, who dodged it and ran into Straker’s yard.
Straker also went back into her yard and saw Charles pull a gun from the roof of her house and fired four shots, one of which hit hadaway in the head, killing him instantly.
Charles had received several injuries.
“The jury was not satisfied that he was not acting in self-defence but that he had a firearm and when he did so, he had it with the intention to commit murder,” Justice Cottle said.
He noted the aims of sentencing, namely retribution, prevention, deterrence and rehabilitation and the sentencing guidelines for the offence, saying he saw no reason to depart from those guidelines.
He said that the jury, by its verdict, was not satisfied that self-defence was disproved or established.
He noted that the maximum penalty for Charles’ offence was 25 years imprisonment.
The judge said that Charles discharged four rounds of ammunition and a man lost his life. He further pointed out that the weapon was never recovered.
Justice Cottle established a starting sentence of 75% of the maximum, or 18 years and nine months.
He identified the aggravating features of the offence as the fact that a semi-automatic.45 pistol was unrecovered and remains at large. Charles did not have a license to hold a firearm or ammunition but at one point had it in his possession and had not surrendered it, the judge said.
He said there was nothing mitigating about the offence.
Aggravating of the offender, the judge noted his previous conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm, for which he had been jailed for four years.
“In this court, he displayed no remorse,” the judge said.
He noted that Charles had been convicted for unlawful possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply on three occasions but said the court did not take this into account when arriving at the sentence.
“The most that can be said of him is that he has had no conviction since 2016,” the judge said.
After considering the aggravating and mitigation features of the offence, the judge settled on a final sentence of 17 years and nine months in prison minus the time spent on remand.