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Arnos Vale man sentenced to five years in jail for manslaughter

Arnos Vale man sentenced to five years in jail for manslaughter

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Arnos Vale resident Roland Gumbs was last Friday sentenced to five years in jail for manslaughter, but walked out of court a free man.{{more}}

Gumbs received the custodial sentence after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, in relation to the August 28, 2008 shooting death in Pembroke of Paul’s Avenue resident Atiba “Crimo” Waldron.

But Gumbs, 26, had spent more than five prison years behind bars and the sentence meant that he could go home.

Waldron was in a vehicle when it was sprayed with bullets, killing him on the spot.

After the incident, Gumbs told police that men who had kidnapped his poodle had forced him to take Waldron on the death ride.

Gumbs, along with several other men, were subsequently charged with Waldron’s murder.

But he pleaded guilty to manslaughter — a lesser charge.

The other men were acquitted at the Serious Offences Court.

The facts are that some men hired Gumbs to drive Waldron and Jamal “Cribbit” Finch, of upper Middle Street, to Chateaubelair.

Gumbs had been threatened by the men to inform them when Waldron and Finch were in the vehicle.

The court heard that the men informed Gumbs that he should make a stop at the Questelles gas station.

When Gumbs pulled into the gas station, Finch and Waldron saw a vehicle following them.

They then told Gumbs to continue driving.

On reaching the service station in Pembroke, Gumbs alighted and person(s) in the vehicle that was following them opened fire while Finch and Waldron were still inside.

Finch and Gumbs escaped unhurt.

Gumbs told police officers that he only decided to adhere to the men’s demands because they came to his home, took his poodle and told him that if he did not do what they said, they knew where he was living.

In a plea of mitigation, attorney Kay Bacchus-Browne said were it not for the statement given by her client when police took him up, there would have been no evidence.

“The prosecution’s case is that he drove the person who was killed and noted that he did not have a gun … He has already spent nearly six years in jail time…” Bacchus Browne said.

She added that men, who had bad reputations, had threatened her client.

The lawyer said they even went and took his poodle from his grandmother and that was one of the reasons why he decided to let them know when the deceased was in his car.

“He didn’t plan the murder, he was the driver but it was not of his own volition.”

In commenting on the matter, the judge, Frederick Bruce-Lyle, said, “For some inexplicable reason, you decide to take the wrong path despite all the support you had from your family.

“You had everything going for you. You were able to do a computer technicians course online and you decide to take a wrong path. You mix with company you couldn’t get out of…

“If you hadn’t exited that vehicle, they would have killed you too. All the money they promised you was a sham.

“Friends, when you get into trouble, they are never around. You go and waste your time with them ragamuffins in Paul’s Lot. I’m not saying Paul’s Lot is a bad place, but there are some,” the judge continued.

“I hope you’ve learnt your lesson. I believe you did what you did out of fear and duress. They used you. Everything that is said here is mitigatory to your circumstances. I am going to give you another chance because I’m convinced you can make sometimes out of yourself. Go back to church and you have to be forever grateful to your family,” the judge advised.

Sandra Augustus, a caseworker in the Ministry of National Mobilization, in her social inquiry report, deemed Gumbs an excellent candidate for reform and rehabilitation.

Augustus said Gumbs told her in an interview that he did not regret staying in prison, but regretted leaving home that day.

The caseworker pointed out that the well spoken young man can use his communication skills and become a motivational speaker.

His aunt, Shirley Sayers, speaking on his behalf, told the court that she took Gumbs as a very young child and related that he never gave her any trouble at all.

“It was just surprising he got caught up with bad company. I’m willing to give him a job when he comes out…” she added.

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