State seeks death penalty following guilty verdict in the Rodman Lewis murder trial

Lewis

Following a guilty verdict handed down by a five-man, four-woman jury, the Prosecution has given notice to the court that it will be seeking the death penalty for Rodman Moses Lewis.

Lewis, who pleaded not guilty to the crime, was today convicted of the 3 November, 2015, murder of his ex-girlfriend and child’s mother, Tricia Riviere, 26.

Throughout the 6 and a half week trial, the prosecution called over 20 witnesses to the stand to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Lewis had murdered Riviere.

In her closing argument to the court on November 18, 2020, State Attorney Sherma Dalrymple, who led the prosecution’s case, asked the jury to consider the three C’s of their case, “credible and consistent witnesses and compelling evidence.”

She argued that the day in question, Lewis had an intention to kill Riviere and he acted on that.

Dalrymple urged the jury to take into account the evidence of their key witness, Arlana Jno. Baptiste Mitchel,  who stated, the day in question, she saw Lewis stomping on the head of the deceased several times even after she attempted to stop him, and his several confessions to other witnesses thereafter.

However, Defense Attorney, Anthony Commodore, in his closing argument, told the jury that his client had no intention to commit murder and the prosecution did not prove throughout the trial that Rodman caused the death of Riviere.

According to Commodore, the prosecution’s case was “extremely” flawed and he appealed to the jury to take into consideration the fact that the prosecution did not present a murder weapon to the court.

During the trial, Investigating Officer, Sergeant Chaucer James, said he initialled the cylinder but could not show the said initial to the court. As such the prosecution did not tender the cylinder into evidence.

Commodore insisted that Lewis was innocent and asked, “Look at the head in the picture and tell me if someone’s head was crushed with a cylinder, would it look like that?”

He went on to state that none of the state witnesses who entered the home after the incident had occurred did anything to assist the deceased while she was still alive.

“Sylvester Jno. Baptiste said when he entered the kitchen Tricia was gasping for air.  Arlana said when that happened she never called the Police or ambulance but went and sat at the neighbour’s home waiting for the police to come…also the trained nurse Perseus Thomas told us when he saw the body he ran out. Nobody tried to help her,” Commodore . Where is the humanity?”, Commodore

Speaking on Lewis’s confessions to several witnesses, Commodore stated, “do not think because someone said they killed someone that is true. And don’t think because someone died someone has to pay for it,” urging the jury to set his client free.

Whilst addressing the jury today, presiding Judge Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts advised that they could return one of three options; murder, manslaughter or not guilty, based on the evidence they accept or deny from the prosecution’s case.

The jury had a minimum of 2 hours to deliberate and could only return before such time with a unanimous guilty verdict of murder. If a decision was not made after the two hours, she stated she would provide further directives on their way forward.

However, after 1 hour and 15 minutes, the decision was clear as the jury returned with its guilty verdict, following which, Dalyrample put their notice to the court for the death penalty in this matter.

Speaking to the press after the verdict, the prosecution listed some of the grounds on which their decision was taken.

“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 is still available in Dominica, it is still on the law books and the accuse we think is not likely to be reformed,” Dalyrample informed.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Evelina Baptiste, also added, “I would like to say to the public that we are not looking for any particular kind of sentence. We 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.”

Dalrymple applauded the investigation by Sergeant Chaucer James which she stated contributed to their success as it was very “prudent and thorough.”

“The prosecution proved its case and justice has been served. The evidence and the investigation was well put together by Sergeant Chaucer James,” Dalrymple siad, adding, “ the DPP’s office put a lot of work into this matter, there have been sleepless nights and we are ministers of justice and we maintained being a minister of justice throughout this matter and at the end of the day it is not about winning or losing it is about the fairness of the trial and we must say that the verdict is sound and the trail was a fair trial.”.

Dalrymple also received high commendation from the DDP for her performance throughout the trial.

“The defence, I have to admit, did not really have a defence that could match up with the evidence that was presented by the prosecution… but she (Dalrymple) did a lot of work in respect to this matter. There were countless applications in this matter and there were a lot of witnesses and the matter was very drawn out which compromised some of our other matters which we had to adjourn but in the end, it worked out,” DPP Baptiste stated.

The Judge has ordered a psychiatric report for the accused as well as a social inquiry report to be presented to the Court on or before January 8, 2021, while submissions will be filed by both parties on or before January 25, 2021.

The sentencing is set for February 1, 2021.

If the prosecution’s request for the death penalty is granted, Lewis will be the first person sentenced to death in Dominica since Frederick Newton, who was the Commander of the Dominica Defence Force (DDF)  was executed in 1986 for organising an attempted coup d’état in 1981 that resulted in the death of a police officer.

In January 1983, Newton and five of his soldiers were given death sentences by a Dominica court for organising and participating in the failed 1981 coup aimed at overthrowing Prime Minister Eugenia Charles. The sentences of the five soldiers were eventually commuted to life imprisonment, but in 1986, Newton became the only person to be executed by Dominica since its independence from the United Kingdom, when he was hanged in Roseau.

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28 Comments

  1. Bwa-Banday
    November 23, 2020

    The law is on the books, he committed the crime, he showed no remorse, HANG HIM! Man enough to do the crime then man enough to take the noose into eternity.

  2. November 22, 2020

    Very good. He really deserves it period

  3. Ibo France
    November 22, 2020

    In self defense, in a moment of temporary insanity, in a crime of fierce passion, a person commits murder then expresses regret and is genuinely penitent about his action, then there is a strong probability that this person can be redeemed and perhaps become a productive member of society.

    In this murder trial, a man commits ……… murder to a young lady who posed no harm to him, who was in her own home minding her business and who was taking care of his child. He not only brutally killed her, he also mutilated her dead body in the presence of their child.

    This is an exception circumstance and deserves an exceptional punishment. To the gallows he MUST GO. He has forfeited his right to be on the land of the living interacting with other human beings.

    For the records. I am not a proponent of the death penalty but I believe it should be used very sparingly in circumstances such as this one. I rest my case.

    ADMIN: The case wasn’t proven that it was premeditated murder. To establish that the murder was premeditated you have to prove that the murderer thought out or planned the murder beforehand.

  4. Ibo France
    November 21, 2020

    @Zandoli

    I respect your opinion as you are often contemplative and profound. This time I fervently disagree with you.

    My major point is this. I am not a blind and zealous advocate of the death penalty. Having said that, I also strongly believe that it should be done in exceptional circumstances as with the case of this unthinkable butchery of a fellow human being. This was an unspeakable crime and the murderer had five years to redeem himself. To this day he has stubbornly refused to admit his guilt. The death penalty is most appropriate.

  5. Ibo France
    November 21, 2020

    @curious

    The term STATE-SANFTIONED MURDER is rarely used but nothing is wrong in using it. Others call it STATE-SANFTIONED HOMICIDE. Both are used interchangeably. Your point is pointless, blunt and inconsequential at best.

    It is a trait of fools to perceive the faults of others but not their own.

  6. Ibo France
    November 21, 2020

    @IIM

    I absolutely agree with you that the officers who bludgeoned the inmate to death was a most monstrous crime. It’s a monumental miscarriage of justice that the perpetrators were not made to pay dearly. However, that case does mot negate my point. For such premeditated savagery, the death penalty should be enforced..

  7. llM
    November 21, 2020

    There I go again… More red checks 8-O. Would State Attorney Dalrymple have sought the death penalty if Lewis, who deserves to be punished for his criminal activity, had demonstrated remorse? Is this a feminist emotional reaction due to the culprit’s steadfastness leading to the prosecutor became pissed at his gall?

    Law and emotion: bad business. Does the issuance of a death penalty automatically triggers an appeal because taking a life is involved? If this is the case, then what precedent would it set for CCJ case law, because authority would bind all the other member islands under this ruling.

    While the lead prosecutor is beating her chest about victory, there are so many other unsolved cases, including her name sake Nurse Dalrymple’s son, and also GON Emmanuel (RIP). History in DA is represented like a huge emotional psychiatric conundrum where psychological relief seems to be constantly sought: two billion$, elections and reform, Byron, $64000, virus relief…..

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
  8. Tt
    November 21, 2020

    Let mr get what coming to him. Life for a life. May not deter crime but ensures that criminals understand there are real consequences for their depravity. You steal… take the hands we have enough useless people around getting off on the mercy of the weak.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
  9. Jahchild
    November 20, 2020

    @ DNO Question: Do you know what form the death penalty takes
    ? Is it hanging or injection?

    ADMIN: The death penalty is carried out by hanging.

  10. Ibo France
    November 20, 2020

    I realize that quite a few people are parroting the usual talking points of Amnesty International. If your mother, daughter, sister or wife was murdered in such a barbaric manner would you have expressed these same platitudes?

    This was premeditated murder committed without a modicum of remorse. If he is given a jail sentence, there’s a possibility that he may escape. This unremorseful murderer is most likely to repeat his murderous ways.

    This for all of you who are invoking God’s name. Pastors, instead of solving conflicts, they exacerbate the problems.

    A man is a wife beater. The wife goes to her pastor in desperation and asked for advice. The pastor invariably tells her to pray over the situation as there is nothing that God can’t cure. Wife ends up beaten to death. Stop the tired refrain about God said. Use discernment and common sense . Leave the holier than Thou attitude alone.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4
    • Zandoli
      November 20, 2020

      Ibo most times your views are measured and thoughtful. This time I think you missed the mark. It is a bit of a stretch to justify executing the convict on the basis of his potential escape and being a threat to society once he makes good his escape. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure he is properly secured at their institution.
      If you want revenge for a heinous crime, say that, but leave out the hyperbole.

  11. Watching
    November 20, 2020

    The murder done by alcapoon came to mind. Damien’s head was sliced from his body. :cry: families still grieve on this brutal murder..Father God help us to control our anger.

  12. Mike
    November 20, 2020

    Reasons to oppose the death penalty for Mr. Rodman.
    1. There is a better alternative: life without parole..
    2. Poor quality defense leaves many sentenced to death.
    3. Capital punishment does not deter crime.
    4. There is a better way to help the families of murder victims.
    Executions do not help these people (victims’ families) heal nor do they end their pain; the death penalty is applied at random.
    Capital punishment goes against almost every religion.
    We are the “State.” When the “State” kills, we are participants.
    Would you choose to be the person that pulls the switch that snuffs out a human life?
    Justice much be tempered with compassion in spite of the heinous crime committed

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 17
    • IIM
      November 21, 2020

      Your last sentence leads me to make a request for a survey: How many wealthy people, by Dominica’s standards, are in jail as opposed to poor people and their children?

  13. child
    November 20, 2020

    if no one is going to comment I will. in this day and age I can’t believe this. Lady you are not God and don’t try to act like you are because you have some kind of authority form your office. who do you think you are to say you don’t think he can change anybody can change because God has that power to change them. I’m not in agreement with him taking anpther persons life , because no one is perfect we all get angry and do things we never should have done. Lady think this over let your human side kick in and led God guide you and not the law books. you are acting like Jesus did not die on the cross for these things to stop. go home pray about what you are asking for and God will speak to your human side if you have one. why can’t you ask for a life sentence with any possibility of ever geting out of jail. please reconsider what you are asking for. he allowed he anger to get the best of him but please tamper justice with mercy please I beg of you. don’t forget he has a mother…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 25
  14. Ibo France
    November 20, 2020

    This is one of the most horrific murders in the history of Dominica. It’s unimaginable how a fellow human being could be so bereft of human qualities.

    This human monstrosity showed not even a scintilla of regret or remorse. Even though the evidence against him was overwhelming, this man insisted on his innocence.

    I believe that capital punishment is STATE sanctioned MURDER. I’m not an advocate of it. I have to make an exception in this case because of the shear brutality in this instance.

    You know what is more troubling and horrifying? This unthinkable murder was committed in the presence of children and other people. Permanent psychological and emotional harm has been done to these children. Tricia’s family and close friends and acquaintances have been traumatized for the rest of their lives.

    Rodman Moses (the murderer) deserves nothing less than the gallows. This man is irredeemable.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 6
    • November 21, 2020

      IBO FRANCE lol
      just a correction the captial punishment sanctioned cannot be murder. sanction means punishment, the law passing a death sentence is legal. murder can either be life sentence or as the ddp explained death in the worst of worst cases, i think in the constitution it also said where taking a life is excused or justified by law and this is one of them, another is self defence

    • llM
      November 21, 2020

      Then you must not have lived in Dominica for a while. These statements are just emotional reactions, particularly if you are female as I suspect. There was a man who was in a prison cell remanded in custody in Portsmouth under the charge of police officers. @ Ibo France, was that not one of the most horrific criminal activities? What could be worst than that? What happened to the officers?

      You and many too many Dominicans just enjoy instantaneous emotional reactions then move on to the next.

  15. SN
    November 20, 2020

    So the defense attorney tries to blame witnesses for the death of the victim. What a lame closing argument.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3
  16. Odinn
    November 20, 2020

    What!! Is death penalty practiced and legal in Dominica???

    ADMIN: Yes, but has not been implemented since 1986 with the hanging of Frederick Newton.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  17. Ras B
    November 20, 2020

    As inhuman as this may sound, I support this move if for nothing else than as a clear and deliberate message to the young men in Dominica that it is not okay to murder. It is not a measure of how manly or macho you are.

    The incidence and prevalence of murders in lil Dominica seems to be reaching for the stars, so if this singular act of the death penalty gives the potential murderer pause, then the value of capital punishment would be valuable to societies as ours.

    When I was growing up in Dominica, Murders were rare, today, it is almost common place. We have convicted murders walking the streets, even after committing their second and third murders.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5
  18. Justice for all
    November 20, 2020

    I don’t want to comment on this particular since I was not at the scene nor did I listen to all the statement in court. Suffice to say that I have absolutely no confidence in the DDP nor in the DPF. If they choose to call for the death penalty in this particular case how about calling for the death penalty in matters of severe treason. Treason is about severe offences against the state and as such no doubt stealing vast amounts of money and resources from the state fall in this category. Why don’t the DPF and DDP open a case???

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 11
    • November 21, 2020

      stealing money from the state does not fall into the category of treason, it is a crime called larceny or in layman terms stealing. the DPP’s job is to prosecute matters not investigate them, it is the police who investigates crime and charge and carries it to the court. for somebody to be investigated for a crime a report must be made to the police and you have to provide the police with evidence that a crime was committed by a person or persons.

      you cant just make claims on social media john brown stealing from the state and he should be carried court, the law doesnt work that way, so all the people you say that stealing from the state is either you report or you are a witness to give evidence to support the charge for the crime they are being accused of.

      it is important to educate ourselves on how our judiciary system works and if we are not certain we can research, ask a lawyer a question, a police, magistrate, or someone who works in a the legal field.

      • Justice for all
        November 21, 2020

        I never said John Brown has stolen vast amount of money from the state. It’s the dictator that steals our resources and for that he ought to be severely punished. You talking your crap clearly shows me which company you keep!

  19. November 20, 2020

    Mark you I am not in any way condoning any crime . Such a lengthy article by DNO and its because this defendant is a very small fish. I bet that if he was one of the big fishes the case would not reach a low court. This is how the justice department works in Dominica. And because of that, the prosecution is hailing itself as (job well done) even calling for the death penalty. It sounds anger related as if the victim knew or related someone special. Job well done my f..t when this young man could only afford one attorney and no big fish(s) on his side. We have all seen and heard of many straight forward indictable cases that have been literally discarded of for reasons known and unknown. Only the man feels it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 16
    • Dasheen Banana
      November 20, 2020

      Regardless of whether or not he could afford a mega defense team the fact remains that he brutally murdered his girlfriend. Don’t forget this guy was a prison officer by profession so he knew the difference between right and wrong and has not shown remorse to this date. Even when asked at the scene why he hit her with the cylinder on her head his response was because she moved and he was in rage.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3
    • November 21, 2020

      i reiterate on the importance of educating ourselves on the subject of our legal system before we comment, if we are not sure do some research, or ask a question to someone who works in the legal profession.

      Adil Masood the matter was tried at high court, not a magistrates court or (low court) in laymans terms. murder is a felony by classification and all felonies are tried by and jduge and jury. there are crimes classed as misdemeanors which a serious enough to be tried by and judge and jury but they do not fall into the category of a felony and there are summary matters or offences which a tried in the magistrate’s court.
      so anybody who commits murder the matter is tried at high court, i could understand or agree if you had made the point if it was somebody with political, or monetary status then they would probably would have not return with a guilty verdict, but all felonies are tried by judge and jury here in the caribbean and likewise each OECS Island.

      • Cormoranto
        November 21, 2020

        Who are you? The little bold dwarf with shades from the merchant family? Get a life!

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