ST. THOMAS, V.I. – A young man was handed
a six-month prison sentence Tuesday for his role in an armed robbery at Raad
Grocery in Savan three years ago.Tyrone
Halliday, 20, who faced nine counts in relation to the June 1, 2013 incident,
accepted a plea agreement proffered by Attorney General Claude Earl Walker and
pleaded guilty to grand larceny.
year later, on Jan. 17, 2014, Halliday was again arrested and charged with
several crimes stemming from a robbery at Barbel Plaza. A schoolboy identified Halliday as the person
who stripped him of his jewelry and his mobile phone.
exchange for the guilty plea, AG Walker recommended that the January 2014 case
be dismissed and that Halliday be sentenced to a term of eight years’
Attorney General Eugene James Connor, Jr., urged V.I. Superior Court Judge
James Carroll III to uphold the terms of the plea bargain.
plea was for two cases,” Connor said. “Both were violent crimes that’s why
we’re recommending eight years.”
defender, Melanie Turnbull, vehemently opposed the prosecution’s recommendation
of eight years’ incarceration and proposed that her client receives 3711C
treatment as he has been rehabilitated.
3711C does is set the reset button on his life.
He was 18 years old. To send him
to BOC would undo everything he’s done for the past two years,” Turnbull said.
V.I.C. 3711C provides, in part, for offenders who have been convicted of or
pleaded guilty to offenses that “did not result in the personal injury or death
of any person and where no deadly weapon was used in perpetrating the crime,
the court may…defer further and place the defendant on probation upon such
terms and conditions as it may require, provided, the accused has never been
convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in this jurisdiction or under the laws of
the United States, any state or territory thereof, or foreign jurisdiction.
Upon fulfillment of the terms of probation the defendant shall be discharged
without court adjudication of guilt, and an order shall be entered expunging
The court also heard the
testimonies of three character witnesses who each described Halliday as
“helpful, hardworking, caring and honest” and asked Judge Carroll to exercise
leniency and mercy in his sentencing.
Halliday also took the
opportunity to address the court on his own behalf.
“I take this time to apologize
from the core of my heart,” he said. “I
am genuinely sorry for what took place.
I messed up; I’ve changed. As a
man, I take full responsibility.”
In meting out his punishment of a
bifurcated sentence, Judge Carroll characterized Halliday’s actions as “totally
reprehensible and totally gratuitous.”
“On one hand, I want to give you
leniency,” Judge Carroll said, “but on the other hand, I have to look at the
community. These gun crimes are out of
control.” He then sentenced Halliday to
two year’s imprisonment with all but six months suspended. Following his release from prison, Halliday
will be placed on probation for two years.
Judge Carroll also ordered him to pay $500 probation fee and $75 in
court costs; to continue his education; and to write a letter of apology to
Raad Bahnaj, the owner of Raad Grocery.
Halliday’s sentence also includes his completing 200 hours of community
service, part of which will be spent lecturing young people about guns and the
dangers of gun crimes.
the sentencing, Halliday was immediately remanded into custody and escorted to
the Bureau of Corrections.
According to an affidavit filed
by Det. Sofia Rachid, Bahnaj told police that at about 6:40 a.m., he was behind
the cash register when two gun-toting black males wearing masks came into the
grocery store. Bahnaj stated that one of
the black males was short and the other was tall, and that he knew the tall
black male as Halliday, whom he knew because he frequented the store and he
lived in the area.
At the time, another customer was
inside the store and Halliday’s accomplice began to beat the customer, while
Halliday was on the other side of the cash register pointing a gun at Bahnaj,
according to Rachid’s affidavit. After
the short masked male finished beating the customer, he went behind the counter
and he and Halliday ordered Bahnaj to open the cash register, Rachid
wrote. Bahnaj opened the cash register
and the robbers took cash and Cingular phone cards, then left the store,
according to Rachid.