Three years cut from killer’s minimum life tariff

| 26/01/2024 | 8 Comments
Cayman News Service
William Ian Rivers

(CNS): William Ian Rivers (45), who was told he would have to serve at least 35 years in jail for murdering Mark Travis Seymour (39) in January 2017, has had that life sentence tariff reduced by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal to 32 years. In September 2018, a jury convicted Rivers of gunning down Seymour in broad daylight outside Super C’s restaurant in West Bay. The following March, he was handed a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 35 years, five years above the legal recommendation for murder.

However, the higher court found that the judge had failed to take into consideration the mitigating circumstances in the case. As a result, the panel reduced the time he must serve before he is eligible for parole by three years.

An application for appeal was granted in November. In a ruling published this month, the appeal court said that Acting Justice Frank Williams, who presided over the case, had increased the 30-year life tariff set out in the law to 35 years due to aggravating factors in the case but had not given enough weight to the mitigating circumstances.

Justice Alan Moses, who wrote the judgment, said that while the mitigating factors in the case were not presented to justify a reduction in the minimum term of 30 years, they did lessen the impact of the aggravating circumstances that had led the judge to increase the sentence.

Although the jury had rejected Rivers’ defence of diminished responsibility during the trial, the appeal court said there was evidence of an “unstable, depressed personality”; medical records showed that Rivers had suffered from depression and had received both anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medication before he shot Seymour.

At the trial, one doctor had given evidence that Rivers was suffering from schizophrenia. Although the crown’s medical expert had disagreed with that finding, he had diagnosed an anti-social personality disorder, as well as polysubstance intoxication.

The appeal judge also noted that Rivers had only one previous conviction for violence in 2008, for which he had received a suspended sentence. “It does seem to us that these facts, taken as a whole, afford some mitigation when weighed against the exceptional aggravating circumstances,” the court found as they reduced the tariff.

Rivers had pleaded guilty to manslaughter based on diminished responsibility but not guilty to murder. On the afternoon of 28 January 2017, he shot Seymour multiple times because he mistakenly believed that he was having an affair with his wife. After killing Seymour, Rivers barricaded himself in his house just across the street from the scene of the murder with several members of his family. He also fired shots at police officers during a two-and-a-half-hour stand-off before he gave himself up.

Following his arrest, police found 22 shell casings in the house as well as three live rounds on the bathroom floor and the loaded gun, all of which Rivers claimed he had found. But the quantity of ammunition that he had been in possession of and had used was one of the reasons why the sentencing judge had increased the time he should serve.

Rivers could still be in jail for more than 32 years as that is the minimum time he must serve before he is eligible for consideration for release. At that time, the Conditional Release Board will decide whether or not he should be set free.

Rivers was remanded in custody in the immediate wake of the killing and has already served seven years. He will now serve at least another 25 years and will be around 70 years old when he has his first parole hearing.

See the full judgement on the judicial website Cause No# 0007 2019.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (8)

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  1. Bigz Wigz says:

    And they’re asking for new court building – to listen to more of this type of nonsense? While enforcing draconian laws against hemp? Go figure! It’s no wonder the world is going mad!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Advice to the young: You don’t have to listen to anybody. You can learn everything from your own personal experience. Of course, you will be at least 50 years old by the time you know what you need to know at 25.

  3. WBW Czar. says:

    Big up Ian, do not let the time do you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    life in prison does not mean life in prison, here in the Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands prison is called the Northward Hilton, really?
    they need to go to Honduras or Peru or Taiwan.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a misnomer. I’ve visited, as a non-resident, and it’s a disgusting, miserable place.

      It’s not as awful as Honduras etc, but it’s definitely not a pleasant place to be.

      Idiots so have spent time inside may say so, but that’s trying to spin a positive given that they were stupid enough to get caught doing their dumb crime.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If anything the “mitigating factors” should increase the length of his sentence. He’s a drug and alcohol abusing loser who TOOK SOMEONE’S LIFE over jealousy.

    So after 30 years in prison he’s going to be a better more contributing member of society?

    He’s going to come out more financially destitute, still using drugs and alcohol, still a loser and old enough that no woman is going to want his murdering ass.

    What math exactly takes all those things and concludes, “yup we should let him out 3 years earlier…that’ll fix it”?

    When you kill someone on purpose you spend the rest of your life in prison, or you’re executed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly, this part of your statement is incorrect. “ no woman is going to want his murdering ass”.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Alabama would be a better place for him (and others).


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