The State has given notice to the defense and the court that they will be seeking the death penalty to be imposed on Rodman Moses Lewis minutes after a nine-member jury found him guilty of the November 3, 2015 murder of his child’s mother Tricia Riviere.
Lewis, said he was “not a murderer and did not kill Tricia Riviere.”
During the six weeks trial, Rodman Moses Lewis showed no emotions as the State led its evidence in the matter.
“The State will be seeking the death penalty in this matter because we consider this murder as extreme and the worse of the worse and we will present our submissions to show that. Also, the murder was brutal and there are no prospects of reform for Lewis. Senior State Attorney in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sherma Dalrymple told the court.
In her closing argument to the jury, senior State Attorney in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sherma Dalrymple, who led the prosecution’s case, asked the jury to consider what she coined “the three C’s of their case, credible, consistent and compelling evidence.”
Alana Jno Baptiste-Mitchel a close friend of the deceased was the state’s main witness and Dalrymple pounced on her evidence as she recalled it to the jury.
“She told you that she saw Rodman stamping several times on Alana and blood was coming from her nose she pulled him away but he went back saying I will kill you bitch, I will F… you up.”
“This evidence is credible and consistent, she was calm and honest, you also heard from retired Prisoner officer Sylvester Jno Baptiste who entered the house and explained to you what he saw. The deceased was lying on her back gasping for breath and Rodman said I killed Tricia…I finished her, he then left and heard three heavy sounds like someone pounding on a heavy object.”
She also brought the jury to the attention of the evidence of retired police inspector Roy Pascal who minutes after the incident was on the crime scene. He told Pascal, “I did it…I hit her on the head we had an argument.” Asked what he used Rodman replied “a cylinder.”
“Consistent and compiling evidence, his intention was to kill Tricia and he carried out the act.”
She also complimented investigating officer sergeant of police Chaucer James labeling his investigating’s as “thorough and prudent.”
She urged them not to be sidetracked and the act of Rodman is what caused the death of Tricia and should return a verdict of “guilty of murder.”
But defense counsel Anthony Commodore said that Rodman had no intentions to go to Stock Farm on November 3, 2015, but was persuaded to do so by Alana who resided with the deceased.
“The prosecution told you that he had an intention to kill Tricia, don’t believe that, there was no intention. Evidence given by the prosecution is completely flood. Where is the cylinder he asked, this is a complete makeup,” Commodore stated?
In her closing remarks to the jury, presiding judge Wynante Adrien Roberts reminded them that they were the “sole judges of the facts, and was to approach the evidence critically and analytically and should have no sympathy for anyone.”
“The evidence in this matter is not difficult…it’s straight forward,” she said. She went on to explain the law to them as it relates to murder and self-defense. The defense she said did not bring any evidence of self-defense but she was obligated to bring it to them (the jury).
“The accused have nothing to prove, the burden remains at all times with the prosecution, remember the accused disclosed that he had a fight with the deceased, look at the volume of evidence put by the prosecution, I don’t have anything from the defense except the unsworn statement from the prisoner’s dock,” she said.
The judge has ordered a social inquiry report and also a psychiatric report evaluation and both sides were ordered to submit written submissions to the court before sentencing.
Justice Adrien-Roberts also had high praises and commendations for the nine-member jury for their diligence and dedication.
“You deserve a Service Medal of Honor for your commitment to the country, you have done a remarkable job, I felt for you having to come to court and at times be confined to the jury room but that is the nature of the work,” Justice Adrien-Roberts stated.
Sentencing is set for February 1, 2021.
Speaking to the press after the verdict, State prosecutor Dalyrample called the murder “brutal.”
“We believe that the circumstances of this murder are extremely brutal and it fits into the category of the worse of, the worse which is what the learning says in that area and also this penalty (death) is still available in Dominica, it is still on the law books, and the accuse we think is not likely to be reformed,” she said.
DPP, Evelina Baptiste, said that as Ministers of Justice, they remain “as ethical to our prosecutorial ethics and we are ministers of justice but we think it is a case in which some message should be sent out to the public to deter them from these types of acts.”
State attorney in the office of the DPP Daina Matthew was also part of the prosecuting team.
Frederick Newton, the former commander of Dominica’s defense force, was the last person to be hanged in Dominica in 1986 for his role in a 1981 coup attempt.
The government of then Prime Minister Eugenia Charles carried out the execution despite pleas from Amnesty International and the Dominica Christian Council, among others, that the sentence be commuted. It was Dominica’s first execution in 13 years.
Newton, 35, was condemned to the gallows after a court found in January 1983 that he organized a 1981 attack on police headquarters in the capital of Roseau. A constable was killed in the attack, which the court determined was intended as the first stage of a coup.
Five other soldiers were convicted and condemned to death, but their sentences later were commuted to life in prison.