Opinion: Life in prison

POSTED: 11/24/11 8:38 AM

It is a rare event when the prosecution demands life in prison against a defendant. Yesterday was one of those moments: two men from Dominica 32 and 20 years old – will spend the rest of their lives behind bars if the prosecution has anything to say about it.

It is, of course, a landmark decision and one may well wonder how the defense will fare this morning when it gets the floor in the court room to plead for at least some leniency. That is what defense attorneys do for a living. In this case the perspectives for the two defendants are slim at best; if we are realistic, they have no perspective at all, and for good reason.

The two defendants in the so-called Regatta-murders caused tremendous grief and drama in a very short time. Between February 12, when they committed their first violent robbery, and March 4, when they committed their third and final murder, they ruined the lives of many people. And for what?

That was one of the rightful questions the prosecution posed in court yesterday. One man, Eduardo Nova Valdez, lost his life and all the insane robbers got were five dollars and a cell phone.

We do not want to make one crime seem worse than the other – because they were all horrible – but the one that stands out apart from the three murders is of course the horrible rape of a young woman in the night from February 12 to February 13, hours after the goons had committed their first robbery.

Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here: the defendants are still innocent until proven guilty. That’s a formality in this case, because the two defendants confessed to all their crimes. All they are waiting for is their conviction.

Having said that, rape is a disgusting crime, certainly when you are subjected to two idiots who have their way with you in a remote location, while you have a small child waiting at home for your return.

The trauma rape causes will take women years to get over – and in some cases victims never manage to get their life back. What makes things even worse is obviously the knowledge of what happened to other victims who were senselessly beaten and stabbed to death.

This could have been the rape victim’s fate as well, but it took a small miracle (in this case, a dispute between the two rapists about killing the victim or robbing her house) for her to escape with her life.

The details of the robberies, the murders and the rape are too gruesome to relate. But gruesome they are, and we think that the prosecution came up with the only demand that befits these crimes – and that is life in prison.

Will this case deter others from doing the same thing? We love to be optimistic, but we are also realistic. The answer to this question has to be, unfortunately, no.

Sure, for a while the life sentence – if it comes down that way in about three weeks time, will make an impression on those who walk on the wrong side of the law. But we have enough examples right here on our island that suggest there is an endless supply of idiots who are capable of committing the most horrific crimes.

We refer to Devon Otto, who mistook Census Office employee Stanley Gumbs for someone else and killed him. We refer to the gang that murdered Marco Beaumont when they made an attempt to cheat him out of thousands of dollars with fake drugs. And we think of the Sucker Garden Gang that robbed and raped a couple of years ago like there was no tomorrow. All these culprits are behind bars – and that is where they belong.

Ah, and before we forget, the recent arrest of eight suspects in the drug-related killings that shook the island this year (from Amador Jones and the Arrindell brothers to Kevin Gumbs, Eric Lake and Sheldon Thomas. These crimes are however of a different order.

Sure, the families of these victims are equally devastated, but the victims moved in circles where the risk of getting a bullet in your head is above-average.

That does not apply to the young woman who went out late at night to buy some food (and get raped), to Ludovic Guillevin (who went out to have a good time), to Eduardo Nova Valdez (who just wanted to go home), to Foidel Luis (who wanted to go to work) or to the robbery victims Curtley R. and his buddy Sherwan R. picked up along the way.

It seems that justice is about to be served. But who will repair the lives these criminals destroyed?

Did you like this? Share it:
Opinion: Life in prison by

Comments are closed.