Court sentences DVD-store shooter to 8 years in prison

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Shimano Gumbs

Teenager also put at the government’s disposal

GREAT BAY – Eight years in prison and put at the disposal of the government. That is the punishment teenager Shimano Gumbs received in the Court in First Instance yesterday morning for fatally shooting Etienne le Blanc in his father’s DVD-store on Front Street on October 9 of last year. The prosecution demanded 12 years of imprisonment at the trial on March 25 under adult criminal law. The charges of which the court found Gumbs guilty include the robbery of a necklace and firearm possession.

With the prosecution and the defense, the court agreed that the 17-year old defendant had not acted with premeditation and sentenced him therefore not for murder, but for manslaughter. Given the contents of the psychological reports about the defendant, the court abstained from sentencing the teenager under adult criminal law.

The court did not accept that Gumbs acted out of self-defense; he claimed that Le Blanc wanted to rob his father. “The defendant’s statement that the victim wanted to rob his father only finds support in his father’s statement. The father has made different statements about what happened and they undermine their credibility.”

The father, Anthony Hamilton, initially told investigators that his son was not there when two men entered his store, threatened him with a gun and asked for money. Later he said that his son was standing next to him when the two men entered and that they attempted to rip a necklace from his son’s neck.

The statements of two witnesses convinced the court that the victim never attacked the defendant. Results from the forensic investigation support these findings.

The court ruled that Gumbs robbed his victim of his necklace (on the French side of the island, on September 16, 2014) and that he fatally shot Le Blanc on October 9 when the latter came to the DVD-store to reclaim his property. Le Blanc, 25, was the father of three young children.

The court doubts that Gumbs – who fathered already five children – really regrets what he did. At the trial, he first said ‘yes’ when Judge Maria Paulides asked him if he was sorry. When the judge asked whether he thought that Le Blanc was responsible for his own death, he gave the same answer.

The court found even more reason to doubt those regrets. “So far he has not returned the necklace to the relatives of the victim. The court considers the defendant’s claim that he does not know where the necklace is, as not credible. Furthermore, the defendant did not take any responsibility for what he did; he put the responsibility with the victim.”

Psychologists at the Ms. Lalie youth care center examined Gumbs and concluded that he needs psychosocial guidance and that, due to his limited intellectual capacities, he must be considered to be in a state of diminished responsibility.

The court put Gumbs at the government’s disposal but considered this measure alone insufficient and added therefore an 8-year prison sentence, one year below the 9 years it had in mind. The teenager got a one-year sentence reduction because he spent three months in pretrial detention in a police cell.

Source Today Newspaper