Smith-Williams guilty of Ferguson murder
A 27-year-old gangster will spend at least 35 years behind bars after he was found guilty yesterday of the murder of a father of one.
Khyri Smith-Williams was found guilty of premeditated murder and the use of a firearm to commit an indictable offence in the killing of Colford Ferguson.
That weapon has been linked to two other murders and other shootings.
Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves sentenced Smith-Williams to life imprisonment for the murder and ordered him to serve at least 25 years before being eligible for parole.
Smith-Williams, from Sandys, was also ordered to serve ten years for the gun offence, which will run consecutively with the murder sentence. Mr Justice Greaves said the case was both very serious and very sad. He said that Mr Ferguson had “unnecessarily and cruelly lost his life as a result of the gang violence in this country”.
Mr Justice Greaves added: “Today we have another case in which an innocent has been gunned down. A child is now without a father.”
But Mr Justice Greaves said that it was also a sad day for Smith-Williams. He said: “You chose the path of the gang life — and unfortunately for you it has brought you to this calamity. You, too, will deny your child a father. There are never any winners in these cases.”
Smith-Williams offered condolences to Mr Ferguson’s family after the verdict was read.
He added: “I know you guys are probably happy someone is going down for it.”
Jerome Lynch QC, Smith-Williams’s defence counsel, said that his client maintains his innocence, and that it was “very brave of him” to say so.
Mr Lynch said there was a “very real prospect” that an appeal would be launched. He added: “I think there are, in my mind, possibly one or two grounds which are certainly worthy of exploration.
“If you’re dealing with somebody who is facing 35 years of his life in jail,” Mr Lynch explained, “we’ve got to look at every possible stone and see if there’s anything under it — and that’s what we will do.”
Inspector Michael Redfern, a police witness in the case, said the sentence sent a clear message to “stay away from the violence”.
He added: “Stay away from the gang because there are no winners.”
Mr Redfern thanked Mr Ferguson’s family for never giving up their search for justice.
He said that Bermuda needed more people such as key witness Troy Harris to come forward.
Mr Redfern added: “We are a tight community and this violence needs to stop.
“When we work together and when we stand up together, this is what the result can be.
“I think this message, hopefully, will go towards trying to eradicate the gun violence we have had over the years in Bermuda.”
Mr Ferguson, 29, was shot dead in February 2011 as he worked on a house near the junction of Mangrove Bay Road and East Shore Road in Somerset.
Mr Harris told the court earlier that Smith-Williams, a member of the West End’s Money Over Bitches gang, confessed his involvement in the killing to him and admitted that he had driven the getaway motorbike.
He said that Smith-Williams told him another man, Rasheed Muhammad, had pulled the trigger and that the wrong man had been killed.
Mr Harris told the court that he had two conversations with Smith-Williams about the murder — one in Westgate prison and the other at the defendant’s home after Smith-Williams had been drinking.
But Smith-Williams told the court last week that the two had been in prison at the same time but had never discussed Mr Ferguson’s murder.
He also admitted that Mr Harris had visited his home in Sandys, but denied that he was drunk in the presence of the witness. Smith-Williams denied he played any part in Mr Ferguson’s murder.
Diary of a travelling handgun
The 9mm semiautomatic handgun that killed Colford Ferguson was passed between rival gangs before it was finally seized by armed police and detectives in a dramatic raid on Khyri Smith-Williams’s Broome Street, Sandys home.
• Twenty-one-year-old Kevin Warner was imprisoned in 2011 for a minimum of 35 years for the premeditated murder of his friend, Dekimo “Purple” Martin on May 28, 2010. A detective told the jury in Warner’s trial that the weapon belonged to the Sandys-based gang MOB and was shared between members.
• MOB gunman Anwar Muhammad was convicted of shooting alleged White Hill Crew member Princeton Burrows on August 23, 2010 and was sentenced to ten years in prison after an appeal. MOB and the White Hill Crew are based in separate areas of Sandys and police report they were locked in gang rivalry. Mr Burrows told a jury he managed to wrestle the firearm away from Muhammad despite being injured in the shooting. Another prosecution witness testified that he saw Mr Burrows hand the gun over to another man before heading to hospital, but Mr Burrows refused to confirm this. At the time, Crown counsel Carrington Mahoney told the jury during the case: “We would love to know where the firearm ended up.”
• That it has been used in other crimes is a matter of public record. Muhammad’s close friend and fellow MOB member Quincy Brangman used it on February 13, 2010 to shoot footballer Nathan Darrell in Sandys.
• It was used again less than three weeks after the Darrell attack to injure Shawn Williams at the Royal Artillery Association club in St George’s early on April 4, 2010. Alleged MOB member Mr Williams was said by prosecutors to have been Muhammad’s getaway driver in the Burrows shooting, although charges were dropped against him before the trial began. St George’s resident Dwayne Signor, who admitted shooting Mr Williams at the RAA club, told Supreme Court he handed the gun to a fellow St George’s man after fleeing the scene.
• Signor was convicted and imprisoned for ten years. Somehow, the gun made its way back west and was used in two shootings in Sandys in March 2010, but no one was hit.
• Then, on May 28, 2010, it was used by White Hill Crew associate Kevin Warner to murder his former friend, Dekimo Martin. Warner was convicted of the Martin murder and jailed for 35 years.
• The weapon remained at large and on July 10, 2010, it was fired at Jahcai Morris, on Sound View Road, Sandys, leaving him injured. No charges have been laid in that case.
• On July 23, 2010, the gun was confirmed to be back in the hands of MOB again when Muhammad’s friend and fellow MOB member Marico Bassett used it to shoot and injure Randy Lightbourne outside the Charing Cross Tavern in Somerset. Bassett, 21, was convicted and jailed for 25 years, yet the weapon remained at large.
• On February 4, 2011, it was used to shoot Colford Ferguson dead at a house on East Shore Road, Somerset. Police do not believe Mr Ferguson to have been a gang member, but the crime happened in an area considered to be MOB territory. The gun’s links to the string of shootings was established by expert analysis of bullets and cartridges left at the various scenes of crimes.
• The weapon was also used on March 16 and March 21, 2010, when no one was shot.
• Marico Bassett is serving 25 years in prison for using the 9mm weapon in the attempted murder of Randy Lightbourne on July 23, 2010 in Sandys.
• Travone Saltus, 30, was sentenced to life in prison this month for the murder of wheelchair-bound Lorenzo Stovell on September 23, 2012.
• The loaded weapon was taken off the streets by armed police from Romano Mills as he struggled to reach it in his sock in Smith-Williams’s home on June 18, 2013. Mills, from Seawall Drive, Boaz Island, Sandys, was shot with a Taser — twice. Mills refused to tell police how he acquired it. He is in prison for the murders of two Pembroke men.
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