Trio serving 80 years jailtime seeking to overturn murder conviction

L-R: Steffon Campbell, Faisal Moore and Ray Yokum

Three men, who are each serving 80 years’ imprisonment for the 2012 murder of Glen Xavier, are appealing their conviction and sentence.

In 2017, a 12-person jury convicted Steffon Campbell, Faisal Moore and Ray Yokum of the May 9, 2012 murder of Xavier which occurred at the Cornbread Mini Mart at D’Urban and Lime Streets, Georgetown.

The sentence was imposed by High Court Judge Navindra Singh. The trio has now moved to the Court of Appeal complaining that their conviction had several problems due to errors made by the trial judge. As a consequence, they are contending that the conviction cannot stand, and are asking that it be set aside along with the sentence.

Based on reports, 26-year-old Xavier of Harlem, West Coast Demerara was shot and killed when the trio, who was armed with guns, stormed the Mini Mart. After the robbery, they escaped with an undisclosed sum of cash on two Honda CG motorcycles. Xavier was shot to his chest and left armed, and later died. His cause of death was given as haemorrhage and shock, due to gunshot injuries.

In passing the sentence, Justice Singh underscored that such violent acts will not be tolerated by the courts. He noted that a strong message needs to be sent to potential offenders and that the scourge which seems to have overtaken the society will not be tolerated by the courts. In fact, one of the men’s lawyer begged the court to temper justice with mercy, but Justice Singh declared that “there will be no mercy.”

In doing so, Justice Singh started their sentence at a base of 60 years, and made several additions, all of which amounted to another 20 years—effectively bringing the sentence to 80 years. The judge added on more years to the base sentence for the use of guns during the commissioning of the crime, public endangerment and other factors. They only become eligible for parole after serving 40 years.

During their trial at the High Court in Demerara, 14 witnesses were called by State prosecutors.

The jury deliberated for a little over six hours, and only emerged once for further directions, before returning the unanimous guilty verdicts, in relation to each of them.