Serving killer gets 30 year tariff

| 07/02/2017 | 31 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tareek Ricketts (courtesy of Cayman27)

(CNS): Tareek Ricketts (25) has been given a 30-year minimum term on his mandatory life sentence in connection with the murder of Jackson Rainford in 2012 after a judge found no exceptional circumstances to change the sentence norm set out in the new Conditional Release Law. Ricketts, who will be 51-years-old when he can apply for parole, was the first inmate already serving life in Cayman to be given a date for when he can be considered for release on licence under the new law. Justice Alex Henderson, who was the original trial judge in the case, also found the release of ‘lifers’ by the governor over the last three years had not led to any legitimate expectation by Ricketts of a shorter term.

This case was the first of around a dozen life tariffs that the courts must consider over this year to determine the minimum terms that convicted killers must serve before they can apply for release under licence. This is as a result of the implementation of the Conditional Release Law last year that abolished the mandatory whole life term without the opportunity for parole and introduced a 30-year period as a normal minimum life term. But the law also gives discretion to the courts to increase or decrease that time based on exceptional circumstances.

So a judge must now rule on the tariff, or minimum term all convicted killers or others given a life sentence should serve in prison before they can apply for release, but it is not a release date. Whether any prisoner is released or not will be a decision for the Conditional Release Board, and in some circumstances inmates may remain in jail for the rest of their lives. The aim of the law is to provide a goal for those serving ‘life’ to work towards the possibility of parole.

In Ricketts’ case, Justice Henderson determined that, given the circumstances of the murder of Rainford, there were no exceptional circumstances that could allow him to stray from the intent of the law.

The crown had argued in the sentence hearing last month that the use of a firearm, when Ricketts, motivated by jealousy, shot and killed his former girlfriend’s new lover, was an exceptional aggravating circumstance that could increase the tariff. But the judge did not agree. He pointed out that there was nothing uncommon about the use of a gun in killings in Cayman, and that four out of the six lifer tariff cases he will hear involve guns.

But the judge also dismissed defence arguments that Ricketts was young and immature at the time of the killing, and at 21 years old, his age should be considered a mitigating exceptional circumstance. Justice Henderson found that there was nothing specifically immature about Ricketts, who had a good job and took care of his children.

The judge also set what is now likely to be an important precedent for other ‘lifers’ awaiting tariffs regarding the practice of the governor’s office, before the advent of the Conditional Release Law, to release some lifers from jail before they had served 30 years. Six men serving mandatory whole life sentences have been released since 2013 by the governor.

They were released after serving between 22 and 29 years — an average of just over 26 years. But the judge said that the first release was not until 2013, which was after Ricketts was convicted. Two others were released prior to the Conditional Release Law being passed and another three after. The judge said that no pattern had been established that could lead to a legitimate expectation on the part of Ricketts that he would be released early.

“The number of released prisoners is too small and the time is too short to permit a reasonable conclusion that a new policy had become entrenched and would necessarily be followed by successive governors, who are replaced every three to four years,” the judge stated. “A pattern had not yet emerged.”

Justice Henderson also pointed out that there is no evidence that anyone in authority had ever suggested to Ricketts when he received a whole life sentence, before the passage of the law, that he would be released at any particular point in time. While the judge had said Ricketts might have entertained the hope of early release, there was not enough evidence to justify a legitimate expectation.

With no other circumstances to consider, the judge ruled that the one-time computer technician from George Town would serve the 30-year minimum term set out in the law, with time on remand, since his arrest taken into consideration.

Ricketts will not be able to apply for consideration of early release by the Conditional Release Board until December 2042, when he will be 51 years old. This will not be an automatic release but merely the first point when it could be considered if he meets the rehabilitation criteria and expectations of those who will be serving on the board 25 years in the future.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can he still make babies for the island?

  2. Unison says:


    Sadly, the man Ricketts killed could have lived a happy life beyond age 55, happily married. We feel sorry for Ricketts but what about the victim’s family and victim himself??? ://

    Why is it that when we try to implement the Death Penalty or suggest it, we are portrayed as cruel and revengeful people??? A life has been taken for heaven sake! And Justice requires that his life be taken too! Where is the Justice in Cayman?!

    If we have clean evidence that he committed cold bloodied murder, why are we not administering true Justice???!!! ://

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s because you are cruel and revengeful people my friend. Two wrongs will never, ever make a right. Taking another life for one already lost serves no purpose on the face of this earth and is every bit as wrong as the person committing murder. Please let’s leave these decisions to the intelligent people we appoint to write and uphold our laws.

      • Unison says:

        Pardon me, but if a thug comes into your home and God forbid, he violently rapes your wife and kills your virgin daughter with no remorse, and you have access to a firearm … what are you telling me you wimp?! Two wrongs don’t make a right, so I will leave it to intelligent people??? smh … the one who is cruel would be you for not standing up for Justice! ://

        • Anonymous says:

          Pardon me you wimper but could you be suggesting that this guy voilently raped somebody’s wife and killed their daughter??? Thankfully neither you nor the two commenters below, nor the 13 dislikers to my comments can change the law so i suppose you’ll just have to live with it you cruel, revengeful people.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just because someone has a different opinion to your own PC nonsense doesn’t mean you should belittle them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Pardon me but I was not belittling them. I was simply agreeing with their own sorry but correct assessment of themselves.

      • Fun bring bun says:

        I disagree. If one knew that to take a life was utimately to trade theirs I guarantee that person would opt not to commit murder unless it was deemed absolutely necessary. By necessary I mean to protect themselves or loved ones from immediate danger – it would be up to the courts to draw that conclusion. Obviously this will never happen as these offenders are repeatedly given chances to right their wrongs while others suffer from their actions. Call it harsh if you like but please offer alternate detterents to senseless killings.

        CNS: A view based on emotion that is in stark contrast to available data: See the murder rates in the US by state – notice that the yellow ones (states without the death penalty) cluster at the bottom while the white ones (states that have the death penalty) are clusterd at the top. Notice also that when states abolished the death penalty, the murder rates generally either remained the same or dropped.

        • Unison says:

          CNS, I don’t think those murders have anything to do with whether death penalty has been implemented or not. Such charts comes with the notion that if we get rid of all penalties for crime, crime will decrease. Hence we get rid of punishing a murder for what he or she deserves, murders will decrease. How in the world do we correlate lower crimes with lower penalties for the crimes, bets me 🙂

        • Anonymous says:

          The cost of keeping someone locked up for 30+ years is to burdensome on the community. The cost allocated could be saved and those resources used to improve the community.

          CNS: Financial Facts About the Death Penalty. Let’s also reflect for a moment on the fact that now and again the state murders innocent people wrongfully found guilty. What is the cost of that?

          • Unison says:

            I’m not talking about innocent people sent on deathrow because of circumstancial evidence…

            I am talking about when you have HARDCORE evidence like DNA, CCTV CAMARA … in other words everybody know beyond shadow of a doubt that the accused kill so and so deliberately, cold blooded murder. That person according to our Law should lose his life for taking a life.

            To me, that is not cruel. That is FAIRNESS AND PROPER JUSTICE

        • Anonymous says:

          So correct, CNS. It is entirely conceivable that the very last thing on a person’s mind while in the act of committing a murder is the death penalty for themselves, so the death penalty has never been nor will it ever be a deterrent to the act of murder.

          • Unison says:

            lol … and the very last thing on a person’s mind while in the act of defending the murderer from being justly punished, is him or her becoming a victim of such a crime.

            I have seen people make long religious speeches on why a murderer shouldn’t receive the death penalty, and then when they hear the chilling news that one of their love ones where mercilessly murdered, they have to recant everything they said.

            It is one thing to theorize – it is another thing to be hit by reality 🙂

    • McCarron McLaughlin says:


  3. Anon says:

    Knew you when you were just a boy; would not have thought then that your life would come to this….

    From boys to thugs; where are the fathers?

    • Anonymous says:

      Just one problem with all these posts. They are wrong. He will not get out in 30 years he will be eligible for parole in 30 years. He could stay in prison for another 30 years if parole is refused.

      Thank you Government for this new law. Which is really really tough on crime.

  4. Anonymous says:

    He will be 55 and able to live perhaps another 2 decades or so in freedom if he is lucky. The man he killed does not have that chance. He is dead.

  5. V says:

    He will be 55 years old when he gets out. Think before you do something stupid. Was it worth it?

  6. Harauguer says:


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