Lifer denied appeal to reduce 34-year sentence

| 09/09/2019 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service
Leonard Antonio Ebanks

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal denied the application of Leonard Antonio Ebanks (48) to have his 34-year sentence cut for the gang-related murder of Tyrone Burrell in 2010. Ebanks is also serving a concurrent 20-year sentence as accessory to the murder of Swiss banker Frederic Bise in 2008. Ebanks is one of four lifers whose appeals have been denied during the summer session of the appeal court for their sentences for murder, which includes Larry Ricketts, Brian Borden and Raziel Jeffers.

The starting point for a tariff for murder under the Conditional Release Law is 30 years, though sentencing judges have discretion to increase or decrease the sentence. Ebanks shot Burrell, who was 20 years old, execution-style in the back of the head, in the yard of a West Bay house. Ebanks was affiliated with the Birch Tree Hill gang, and believed that Burrell was a spy for the rival Logwoods gang.

The late Justice Charles Quin, in a judge-alone trial, found Ebanks guilty and sentenced him to the mandatory life imprisonment in 2011. In his Conditional Release judgment in 2018, in which he set Ebanks’ minimum tariff at 34 years, Justice Quin noted there were several aggravating circumstances, which the Court of Appeal stated in its written judgment handed down this week.

There was a significant degree or planning or premeditation, the court recounted, “motivated by a desire for revenge and/or punishment” of Burrell, and referred to Justice Quin’s description of the use of the gun to deliver a single shot to the back of the head as “a public execution of the most evil nature and could accurately be described as ‘chillingly clinical’ in its planning and execution”.

Other factors included were that the murder was gang-related and Ebanks threatened a neighbour by telling her she was “lucky not to get your brains blowed out too”.

Among the grounds for appeal submitted by attorney Amelia Fosuhene appearing for Ebanks, she argued that Justice Quin was wrong to consider the comments her client made to the neighbour as a threat, that it was not open to the judge to do so. The appeal court disagreed, saying that Justice Quin was the “judge of fact” and had heard all the evidence. “There is no basis now for this court to interfere with his conclusions, which are on their face plainly sustainable,” the justices wrote.

Fosuhene also submitted that the minimum sentence was out of line compared with terms meted out in other cases but this argument was rejected as well.

In refusing the application to appeal, the justices emphasised that the shooting was a “planned execution” that was gang-related.

“We have no doubt the judge was entitled to find the exceptional circumstances he did for the reasons he gave,” the panel found. He was unarguably entitled to impose a minimum term of 34 years’ imprisonment.”

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    RIP Tyrone.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps he should have considered the consequences before he took a man’s life.
    When he stands before the righteous Creator, I guarantee he will receive righteous judgement. Only he knows if he is ready.

    People, God has granted us all a free will to act in any way that we choose, to say any idle words that we wish, to believe any old rubbish because someone with a loud mouth said so. It is your perogative but all decisions have consequences.

    When this tired old world is rolled up like a scroll and the new creation sings, where will you stand?

    It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. I do not say these words idly. I beg you all to listen. Life is a gift not to be wasted ignorantly.
    If you do not know God, just have a wee prayer and ask Him to help you.
    He hears the humble and rejects the proud.

    He is the only one who has the right to be proud, but yet He humbled Himself and gave us His only Son. Oh proud man, who art thou that casteth a snook at thy Creator?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully he will never see the other side as a free man.
    Murderer. Has no right to life on the outside. Ever.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Justice run amok.

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