Teen robber gets 16 years

| 11/11/2011

_DSC7637-web_0.jpg(CNS): A teenager who was only sixteen at the time of his crime was handed a sixteen year prison sentence in the Grand Court Friday. Justice Smith sentenced Elmer Wright, who is now 18 years old, to serve twelve years for the robbery of a Bodden Town gas station last June plus a further four years to be served consecutively for the unlawful use of a shotgun. The judge also sentenced the teen to the minimum sentence of ten years for the possession of an unlicensed firearm and seven years for the possession of ammunition, all to run concurrently with the twelve year prison term for robbery. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

The judge found that, despite the defendant’s age, it was important for the court to send a clear message, otherwise public confidence in the justice system was at risk.

“The court must bear in mind the welfare of young offenders but when they deliberately commit serious offences, as the case now before the court, there is a legitimate public expectation that the defendant is severely punished,” he said. The judge added that the sentence had to also serve as a warning to other would-be offenders of the gravity of the offence and the risks associated with behaving in the same way.

The teen was convicted on Thursday of robbing Motsyns Esso in Bodden Town in June last year. Wright was also found guilty of the unlawful use of a firearm when he fired on a police patrol car as he attempted to escape after a high speed pursuit but was acquitted on the charge of attempted murder.

The judge found a number of aggravating features in the offence, including the fact that the robbery was committed with a number of other men, suggesting gang activity, that violence was used, as one of the customers in the gas station was butted by the robbers with a rifle as they fled, and that the crime took place at night.

He said that inadequate punishment does little to “heal the victims wounds” and would add insult to injury. Justice Smith said that without public confidence in the courts to hand down appropriate sentences there was the temptation and concern of driving the community to seek extra-judicial justice.

Explaining why he had ordered that the four year sentence for theuse of the firearm run concurrently, Justice Smith said the incident was a separate offence when he had fired at the unarmed police officers in the patrol car as he attempted to escape. The police, he said, were entitled to protection from the court.

Despite acknowledging the extremely difficult circumstances of Wright’s upbringing, the judge focused on the need to send the correct message, given the very serious nature of the offence.

But the judge noted that Wright’s early life was full of dysfunction and both of his parents were incapable of meeting his needs. Pointing to his unstable childhood, the judge noted that he had no contact with is mother since he was 12 and his father was incarcerated for significant periods of his teenage years. He also noted that the defendant had a learning disability which, despite being identified, had not been addressed.

Related article: Teen guilty of robbery

Category: Crime

Comments (65)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What everyone seems to be ignoring is that this is a trend.  The article mentions "no contact with is mother since he was 12 and his father was incarcerated for significant periods of his teenage years. He also noted that the defendant had a learning disability".  He is a product of his upbringing.  Sure he made his decisions but based on what he learned, behaviour he saw carried out before him.  His judgement of a normal life was blurred obviously from a very young age, not to mention the learning disability.  Any child with parents who have abandoned them should require counseling.  Sure I too have been a victim of robbery and it makes me feel completely helpless that someone just takes what you've earned and worked very hard for, but on the other hand what are we doing to try to helping the people in our community who need it the most.  This is not a easy problem to tackle, it's going to take many years to correct the damages that have been done.  We may have lost this young man but what are we doing to eliminate those who are walking the same road.  Do we just sit back and say, throw them in jail? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am tired of reading about this people who have turned into criminals and it is then said that WE have failed them. I don't have any responsibility for anyone elses child except for my own. In fact, my children who are growing up with proper values and ambition are the ones  who are struggling nowadays, because they are in the minority – bad behavior is rampant from pre-school days onwards and the parents are not being held responsible.

    I went to town on Friday for the pirates week fire work – all I could see is "children" pushing strollers and dragging another bunch of kids behind them. No fadda being seen with them.

    I have said it time and time again, unless parents are going to be held responsible for their children's action from  when their kids are pre-school age, nothing will change!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for the family of this young man. I feel sorry for what ever circumstances led this young man to comment this crime. However, as we know resources are limited in Cayman. So what are we going to do to fix the problem?? When this man gets released back into society what are his options to sucessed??

    I dont know exactly what this young mans living conditions were. But I know for other youth they feel doing these things are their only options to survive and get things like everyone else has or get something they've never had. We need to have out reach programs to educate the youth on their (limited)  resources they have.  Maybe if you have some of these youth occupied doing community work they could have something on their resumes. Maybe having some experience being a good citzen and helping their community could get them a job that makes some money. Maybe for doing some of the community work, their community could help them back a little bit.

    I know theirs many of people that feel they shouldnt worry about "garbage" because they have their life set. People that have this mindset need to change it, because you'll never know if your going to be that person one day.

     

    Question is what are you doing to prevent crime in your community??

  4. Anon says:

    I have spoken to a number of civic minded Caymanian parents who, like me, would like to support our public schools by enrolling their children. Yet, after attempting to do so have, reluctantly, decided to move their children into the private school system. This is due not to a poor quality of teaching, but a poor quality of parenting that creates an environment which not conducive to learning. I believe that by keeping the public school system, as a ‘free’ system (yes I know there are costs to the parents) for Caymanian children only, the govt. and their constituents have ‘cut off their nose to spite their faces’, and fostered the growth of gangs, as well as a division between the ‘haves and have nots’ on the Island.

  5. Voices says:

    Their saying he has a learning disability, How can that be?  This young man knew what he was doing, He robbed the store, then he deliberately fired a fire-arm at a unarmed policeman.Tell me what type of learning disability could he possibly have? He learned how to rob, and pull a trigger, didn't he? I can't believe the Courts have acquitted him on the charge of attempted murder.

  6. seeking Justice all found is Just Us says:

    Just recently an article in the Cayman Compass appear where the son of a certain non Caymanian was found guilty of Fraud at Fosters Food Fair and possession of drugs yet he was treated almost like a celebrity. where they talk about the embarassment of being in Courts was punishmrent enough. Yet we have seen and read where young Caymanians who appeared in court for their very first time and the same single offence were given long prison sentences . To add insult to this the offenses were not even recorded against him.The disparity of which justice is dispense to certain person in our so called high society is very clear indeed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are these persons not being considered for deportation? Our laws require it but are being ignored.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha. you fail to mention the involvement of the child of a certain Caymanian was very much involved and their neglection to delve into that matter. I'm a Caymanian, but would you care to tell me the fairness in that?

  7. Anonymous says:

    There are so many opportunities for the youth to get ahead. This  young man made terrible choices and must now accept the consequences  of his actions. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is sad. A young man who is alive but not living. Hard truth it is. However and who ever failed him and the other hoodlooms is no longer an issue. Write them off. Think forward. His kids if he has any can be led down a different path. He and alot his age no matter how they arrived there made a choice. Full stop. Now they pay. The communiy can no longer afford to say how come but has to put a wall around this element and protect themselves. He does not deserve a hug and a cookie nor a reduced sentence because he was failed which he probaly was. Boo whoo wipe the tears get off of the picking on him because he is a Caymanian- that fact alone should dictate a harsh sentence.

  9. Tiny Briefs says:

    Not long enough.  So few scum like that ever change that spending any money trying to rehabilitate him is a waste of limited public funds.  We should have solitary confinement breeze block cells with no a/c, no visits, nothing excpet for the knowledge that the door remains locked for a long long time.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Cayman need to stop feeling sorry when these kids,do stupid things like this, they got "sense" to plan robbery and use firearm, but not able to stand the consiquences? you honestly think they done know what they are doing?lets be real, Cayman Islands youth have more oppertunity than most if not all countries this side of the world, but the some how the youths sill want fast money.

     

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good riddance.

  12. WREX says:

     

    I think that's a long time for robbery, it's like getting 20 years for killing cow in Cuba…let's not forget some lady killed a guy with a  trailer and got nothing.

     

    If the prison wasn't such a hotel you could get away with a 5 year sentence and save a considerable amount of money.

     

    Make the prison tougher, reduce the sentence time and save some money.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I agree with "Yo Mama".  This sounds like a child who fell through the cracks without proper guidance and we all failed him.  This should not have happened.  Social Services, teachers, his parents, and anyone who came in contact with this child failed him.  And yes he is still a child.  He is not fully developed emotionally as yet and depending on what his disability is, he may never be but if he had been taken in hand at an early age, this may not have happened.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a teacher (not in GC) who teaches teenagers….let me tell you, teachers did not fail this young man! The young man failed on his own behalf!! I can not tell you the amount of students that I have gotten into colleges only for them to call in a years time to say they have to drop out because they got 2 girls pregnant or drug charges or a violence charge. "Sorry, I have to give up that scholarship cuz I did a dumb thing…blah, blah, blah".  I, and speaking on the behalf of teachers can only do so much. We do not follow them around 24/7…and either do their parents or social services etc. Teens know right from wrong and some make really bad choices and when they do, they need to deal with the consequences. Robbery is something this young man planned to do (i.e. he had to think about doing it, his adrenaline got charged etc.)….it's all on him- there is no one else to blame. IMO

      • Anonymous says:

        When he was born, he didn't decide to rob places.  This happened somewhere along the way.  No one is born a killer, rapist, etc.  

        This could be prevented if society hadn't failed him somewhere along the way.  You can't tell me he was a born killer or attempted murderer.  That is not possible.  

        Some children are labelled before anyone bothers to find out what their problem is..  I see it all the time with the teachers when they have a child that has problems.  No one bothers to find out what is wrong.  

        You have a child that can't hear so he/she is frustrated that they can't understand what is going on.  How about a child with dsylexia?  They can't read.

        Are you saying that children can raise themselves?  Someone has to guide them.

        I'm not saying that he should not be punished.  I am saying that we need to nip this in the bud at an early age and make sure that this never happens again.  Or would you rather they just rob and we put them in jail.  I would prefer to have young men be productive members of society.

        • Anonymous says:

          “This could be prevented if society hadn’t failed him somewhere along the way.”

          Except that sometimes people are just evil. It isn’t society’s fault that someone decided to become a criminal. Stop suggesting there are excuses for this crap.

    • Anonymous says:

      He failed himself, Dont try and blame others for the actions of a brainless moron!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't blame me I had nothing to do with it.  I raised three children just fine!! He had choices, he could have made the good choice!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what mitigating factors were taken into account why the judge would give him the minimum sentence for the firearm? Bad precident for firearm possession offences.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How the hell can someone who fires a gun at the police (or anyone else for that matter), which fortunately missed, but then be found not guilty of attempted murder?  He should be on a life sentence.

  16. Anonymous says:

    bye bye johnny the scum bag!….all other johnny's take note!!!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    To the idiot who wrote the article entitled “if drunk drivers who kill” only get 18 months, this teen should have gotten 2 – 3 years only. Only? For what? To get out as early ASAP and rob again? What if the problem had struck home? I bet you sing a different song then. The judge should have added all his time up and let him serve It without the possibility of parole.

    and people stop feeling like the government should fix all our personal problems, It’s, nobody’s resposibility to fix people’s issues. Eventhough this teen was from a dysfunctional family that’s no excuse for doing wrong. Many people have a though upbringing and no education but they know difference between right and wrong.

    I agree with the judgement passed on him yes, send those scum bag morans to jail and prison yes.

  18. Anonymous says:

    While I agree with this sentence for these crimes I continue to be amazed at the lack of consistency in these verdicts and sentences. Next week, someone will be convicted of nearly the same thing and end up with a few hours of community service and a year of probation.

  19. Anonymous says:

    a jamaican man killed a caymanian man and he only got 7 years i think this is a little bit too hard but of course this young kid is a caymanian thats why they were soo hard with him

  20. Anonymous says:

    There seems to be a lot more need addressing before one can address the learning disability. Hope he gets some help while he is completing his sentence. 

  21. Anonymous says:

    Please check the back ground of this young man I personally Know that he was identified as one to get overseas  treatement and certian Judge block it check it out  social services you tried.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if anyone bothered investigating whether he is a candidate for deportation upon conclusion of his sentence?

    • Anon says:

      Is the offender an expat? I don’t know the specifics. I thought he was a local kid, in which case he can’t be deported.

      • Anonymous says:

        The issue is more complicated than that. He may or may not be Caymanian but that in itself is not the issue. If he is Caymanian, then depending on how he became Caymanian, that status can be revoked, and he can be deported. The immigration law provides for detailed mechanisms and considerations in such circumstances but they are never implemented. Hundreds of kids are automatically ceasing to be Caymanian automatically on their 18th birthday in any event – particularly if they became Caymanian by entitlement following a grant to their parent.

  23. Port O'Call says:

    One less scumbag on the streets.  No tears here. 

  24. Inmate 0 YP says:

    You cant honestly believe that 16:43 him teaching a course in Robbery 101 is more likely and with the current set up in Northward where the establishment helps its own nationality to control influence and other "activities"on the inside of Northward. I suspect we have not seen the last of many like Mr Wright. They can pose for as many pictures as they like and preach about the beautiful programs in place the reality at the prison is a whole different ball game that many in government are choosing to ignore or turning a blind eye to. A serous change in management is needed at HMP Northward in order to turn this dire situation around. Unless there is a seriuos comittment to rehabilitation the recidivism rate is going to contiue to increase.

  25. Yo Mama says:

    What a waste. 

     

    A failure for him, his parents, and the Cayman Islands.

     

    Everybody failed.

    • Caribitz says:

      The court didn't fail!

    • James says:

      what the hell are you talking about, failure for him, parents but not the Cayman Islands, you grow up with no regard for anyone or anything, you commit such a crime then you pay the price, we all have choices, he chose poorly, he knew what he was doing was wrong, he knew armed robbery was wrong, so don't sit there saying Cayman failed, he failed his family, friends and COUNTRY!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not me Bo Bo!

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a shame  so sad another young life wasted.

      Sadly to say though this  won't be enough to deter

      the young up and coming gangsters who probably think they

      won't get caught cause ''they are too smart''

    • Reality Calling says:

      Lots of people remain uneducated, have sub-par IQs, get tough breaks in life, have rotten parents, and live in cultures where their neighbours don’t care if they live or die, and NONE OF THAT excuses picking up an illegal gun and robbing people with it or shooting at police officers.

      He got off light and he should be grateful, and you other uneducated morons who think your “tough life” excuses violent antisocial behaviour all need to put down your crack pipes and think about this one for a while.

      Note to police: this wasn’t a licensed gun-owner who did thiscrime. Don’t interfere with my lawful possession on account of this convict who never came anywhere near the category of legal responsible gun owners.

  26. inquirer says:

    Poor youth. The Cayman Society has fail one our young people again . Why did'nt someone counsel this young man and get him some help before this has to happen. What a waste of human resourses . Who knows if this youth had received help he might hav become a useful member ot this society.

    • Anonymous says:

      Inquirer: the "Cayman Society" failed him?? "Why didn't someone counsel him blah blah"?? Are you one of these totally out of touch godbotherers who think all these boys need is some more bible study or something? PLEASE. Ask the teachers about some of these little thugs and how totally out of order they are from age five onwards. Cayman Society is not to blame. Their G-d-d—-ed parents are the culprits. I could say more about his background but CNS would not print it.

    • Anonymous says:

      @inquirer:  You make a very good point!  Can one correctly assume that YOU are doing your part to postively impact tthe life of at least one young person? Too often we see what others need to be doing without realising that we too can be doing the same thing. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Poor youth?  No.  The kids in this story are poor youth:

       

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/opinion/kristof-girls-just-want-to-go-to-school.html?_r=1&src=tp

       

      This is a boy who took for granted all the opportunities around him.

    • Jack B Nimble says:

      He is being a useful member. He’s standing as an example to the other would-be wanna-be cop killer gangsters that from time to time the cops get one of you, the Crown prosecutes well, and the judge hits the right balance in sentencing, and your ass gets a decade in the slammer.

      “Poor youth” my ass. The only poor people here are the victims of a society that tolerates and in fact coddles these criminals so as to make the island a less safe and less desirable place to be. Society should be crushing these little bastards so as to make it safe for those of us who do obey the law.

      Go give him a hug, and watch him slip a knife in your back.

  27. Absurdistani says:

    Great job RCIP and, finally,  a solid sentence by the courts. Thank you all!!!

    • THE THINKER: says:

      Great Job!   Bull S….t!   It's always the poor, young, gullible Caymanian that is caught and arrested! And then sentenced to spend half their best years in Northward! Now don't get me wrong, I am 100% behind the RCIP when they arrest these criminals,  but the  question  has to be asked!  How come there was not even a mention of the other two [most likely]  seasoned   perpetrators, "the ring leaders"! Did this young man not give them [the police] some clue as to who they were? Were they  from  Jamaica or some other jurisdiction? It boggles the mind that  a place as small as we are has so many unsolved crimes involving missing persons "two recently," rapes,  murders and others. GOD HELP US! 

      THINK!

        

      • Anonymous says:

        They must have come from Jamaica!  YES!  All criminals come from Jamaica.  Really do you ever listen to yourselves? it is so laffable…

  28. Anonymous says:

    If drunk drivers who kill people only get 18 months , this young kid should have only got 2 to 3 years leaving him with a chance to turn his life around

    • XXX says:

      Do you really think you can compare the two ?  That's like apples and oranges.

    • Anonymous says:

      I pray he will get enough councelling and rehab during his time in the prison to be a productive citizen of the country. Still not too late.  He is a very good example for other irresponsible Caymanian fathers who is spilling beans all over the place and still feels too proud about it.

  29. Anonymous says:

    You do the crime you do the time well done judge and rcip

  30. Anonymous says:

    Bravo and I hope while in Prison he will take courses and get an education and when he is released he will be older and wiser and make use of himself

    • Anonymous says:

      He won't get educated, he'll just sit around in jail smoking weed and playing playstation. But at least he's not out on the streets robbing us for a few years.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to the RCIPS for their successful prosecution of the defendant & the justice deserved by the victims

    • XXX says:

      Actually it is not the RCIPS that prosecutes people but the Crown Prosecutor.  RCIPS gather evidence, witnesses etc.  Good job to all involved.  I hope there are others who learn from this.

    • The Beaver says:

      Ummh, duh, the RCIPS did not successfully prosecute the defendant – the Legal Department did.  The RCIPS is lucky if it can successfully tie its own shoelaces.  The Legal Department, though successful in this case, are 1 IQ point below the intelligence of a moron – how they managed not to screw this one up is beyond everyone and the title of a my best seller "Finally Got One, Prosecuting -101, and/or  Wheew, praise the Lord God we didn't mess up another".  The Beaver

      • The Prophet says:

        Beaver,  Please consider this.   It may not be the police prosecuting the cases, but we all must realize that if it was not for the police arresting someone, there would be no one to prosecute; and further more if it was not for the police arresting someone, there would be no one for the Judge to sentence.  The police is at the Helm, and I suggest that we should give them their credit where it is due, and it is surely due here.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think it was the volunteer Police who chased this suspect and that they were unarmed.   Whoever it was thank you and they should be recognised and rewarded.  I do feel for this young man. What he did was terrible but it is such a waste of yet another young Caymanian's life. We either seem to lose them through gang violence or to Northward.  Intervention at a an early age is essential. 

        • The Beaver says:

          I was merely pointing out that the RCIPS had nothing to do with the successful prosecution of this case, but rather with the apprehension of the suspect.  I was also pointing out that both the RCIPS and the Legal Department are useless, other than on the very few occasions (such as this one) where they do get something right – but don't hold your breath that this is somehow going to be the norm – it's not.  The Beaver

  32. Anonymous says:

    BRAVO!