PHILIPSBURG–The Judge in the Court of First Instance on Wednesday morning refrained from imposing a life sentence on the main suspect in the so-called Menam case. Suspect Ridge Damisse (24) was found guilty of the armed robbery of Oro Diamante jewellery store, and of the manslaughter of Police Officer Gamali Benjamin, and the attempted manslaughter of another member of the Police Force, on August 5, 2015.
During the two-day hearings in this case, held on April 13 and 14, the Prosecutor’s Ofﬁce requested a life prison sentence, but the Judge said she considered 20 years sufficient punishment as the chances of reoffending were considered low and Damisse had shown remorse.
The Court found it legally and convincingly proven that Damisse had committed the armed robbery together with Jovanny Leon (20). The accomplice in the armed robbery, however, was not held responsible for what transpired in the shooting following the robbery.
“His intent was directed at the robbery, and was not also aimed at the shooting incident and the violence which followed after the robbery when they tried to escape,” the Judge explained.
Where the Prosecutor had called for 20 years in Leon’s case, the Judge imposed eight years instead.
Accomplice Mike Henson Azor (35), who provided a hammer to Damisse, which was used in the robbery to smash jewellery-store showcases, was sentenced to two years and six months. The prosecution had requested a prison sentence of five years.
Accomplice O.A.C. (34), a taxi driver known as “Brat,” who allegedly had provided video footage of the store to the main suspect, was acquitted of all charges. The Prosecutor had called for four years.
The hearings in this case took place at Belair Community Center, but the verdicts were handed down during a public session at the Courthouse in Philipsburg. The Prosecutor’s Office and the suspects have 14 days to appeal the verdicts.
Source: Daily Herald
No life sentence for man who shot Officer Benjamin