IN SEPTEMBER 2007, Vaughn Cambridge’s body was found in a field at Block 5 Agua Santa Branch Road, Wallerfield. His neck was slit from front to back and his body bore multiple chop wounds.
On Tuesday, two of the men responsible for his death were sentenced to a total of seven years and three months’ hard labour.
Travis “Footprint” Williams and Leston “Bummie” Solomon were before Justice Althea Alexis-Windsor. They had pleaded guilty to murder on the basis of the felony-murder construct in November. The judge said she accepted that their guilty pleas were given "freely and voluntarily."
The judge began with a starting sentence of 25 years for both men.
Because Williams had a previous conviction for robbery, and had attacked Cambridge with a cutlass, bottle and piece of iron for almost half an hour before he was chopped to death and was close by when another man was inflicting the fatal wounds, the judge increased his sentence by two years. However, she afforded him a one-year discount because he co-operated with police, giving a detailed statement and did not inflict any of the fatal wounds.
Solomon also received an additional two years for participating in the beating and attack on Cambridge before he was stabbed and was also close when the fatal wounds were inflicted. For that the judge adjusted his sentence upward by two years but discounted it because he did not inflict the fatal wounds, had no previous convictions, had expressed remorse and co-operated with police.
They both received a one-third discount for their guilty pleas which left Williams with a sentence of 17 years and four months and Solomon with 16 years and eight months. The 13 years and four months Williams spent in custody awaiting trial were deducted, and Solomon’s 13 years and five months were also deducted, leaving the former with four years and the latter with three years and three months.
The prosecution’s case was that on September 26, 2007 the two men and a few others, including one identified as Shawn commandeered the car of Michael Koon Koon who would usually provide Shawn with transportation services.
After they returned with the car, Cambridge got into an argument with Shawn, who, along with the two prisoners, beat him for close to half-an-hour with a cutlass, bottle and piece of iron before throwing him into the trunk of Koon Koon’s car. He drove to Wallerfield and Williams and Solomon took the man out of the trunk and threw him on the ground. With cutlass in hand, Shawn began chopping Cambridge on the upper part of his body.
Koon Koon was made to drive to Manuel Congo to pick up Shawn’s girlfriend and drive them back to Malabar. He was also told to drop Williams and Solomon home in Carenage but he refused and told them take his car. Koon Koon ran home and the two men drove off in the vehicle.
Koon Koon identified both men after they were arrested.
Williams was represented by Daniel Khan and Harrynarine Singh while Joseph George and Shontel Hinds represented Solomon. State attorneys Giselle Ferguson-Heller and Ravita Persad prosecuted.