Mavado’s son, Dante Brooks, was sentenced in relation to the 2018 murder of Lorenza Thomas when he appeared in court on Friday. He was also sentenced to 20 years for illegal possession of firearm and sentenced to 15 years for arson.
On the other hand, Brooks’ co-accused, Andre Hinds, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and will not be eligible for parole before 17 years. He also received 15 years of hard labor for illegal possession of firearm and 15 years of hard labor for arson.
Both men had the time they spent on remand deducted from their final sentence, and their sentences, which were handed down by Justice Leighton Pusey in the Home Circuit Court, will be served concurrently.
Peter Champagnie, Attorney-at-Law for Dante Brooks, told reporters after the sentencing hearing that they will be appealing the sentence. “We respect the decision of the court, you always have to do that but of course there is the right of appeal,” Champagnie said. “Our clients have instructed us that we should appeal and we will act accordingly.”
“A number of serious issues have arisen in terms of this trial to include the fact that blame was being laid at the feet of the police in Constant Spring to say that they had forced the witness to say certain things that were not true and even persons were interviewed or featured in this crime and released, in those circumstances coupled with the many, many, many inconsistencies and in some instances admissions that he, the witness, was not being truthful, it is fertile ground for appeal and we intend to pursue it,” he said.
According to Champagnie, the defense’s primary concern is the conviction and the grounding of the conviction- “that is the main focus and will be the main focus and will be the main focus of the appeal.”
Asked why Dante Brooks had a more lengthy sentence than his co-accused, Champagne explained: “The court felt that the role of Brooks was more instrumental than Hinds. The record came back that Brooks was on bail on another matter at the time the offence was committed, and that was not the case with Hinds.”
During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Brooks and Hinds were among five men who stormed into Thomas’ house and shot him. Thomas’ father, who was unarmed, provided crucial witness testimony, which included the gang’s attempts to sever Thomas’ head and the use of gasoline to set the body and house on fire.
Dante Brooks and Hinds were found guilty in January this year. They were arrested and charged in 2018 following a home invasion in Cassava Piece, St. Andrew, in which Lorenzo Thomas, also known as Israel or Trulups, was killed. At the time, Brooks was only 16 years old, but he was charged and placed before the courts as an adult.
According to Police, when 16-year old Brooks was arrested for murder, he had been out on bail in relation to another matter. It’s reported at that time that he had already been involved in two prior matters, one of which included a shooting at him 18 months before 2018.
Reports are that Dante Brooks was in dispute with someone in Cassava Piece and Mavado sought to intervene, which led to an alleged altercation between Mavado and the other man. Urban Islandz previously reported that as a result of that incident, there was a retaliation attempt on Mavado’s life when he was shot at in a rain of bullets forcing him to fled the community and sought cover at the Constant Spring Police station, where he made a report. The shooters were later arrested.
The murder of Thomas was reported days later, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force issued a wanted bulletin for Mavado, which they were for his connection to the upsurge of violence in the Cassava Piece community, which was once a hot spot of inner-city gang violence.
The murder allegedly occurred a few days after Mavado was reportedly shot at by a group of men in the Cassava Piece community. He was not hurt, but according to Loop, the singer reported the incident to the Constant Spring Police. The cops later issued a wanted bulletin for Mavado after they swooped down on the entertainer’s Norbrook residence in search of him regarding an upsurge in violence in the community. However, Urban Islandz reported that Mavado had already left the island for the United States the night before the raid on his residence.
At the time of the threat on Mavado’s life, his former mentor Bounty Killer had warned Mavado about his son and had even advised him in a cryptic post on Instagram to remove his “chest and feet” from Cassava Piece to protect them.
“Disturbed disappointed disapproved Cassava Piece should never pop off a piece over a fist fight not right Protection @mavadogully protect yu chest protect yu knee protect yu foot dem protect yu head and certain place yu nuh fi put dem!!! Jah Naah Sleep,” the dancehall legend wrote following the 2018 shooting incident.
It was also reported that his son was involved in a previous incident in which he was shot at. He was also alleged to be involved in various incidents, which many viewed as him chasing “badness.” Many at the time had cautioned the artist about guiding his son who lived in Norbrook but frequented the Cassava Piece area where he was said to be involved with gang activities and guys with “bad influence.”
However, while the younger Brooks’ fate was no surprise for those who forewarned Mavado, it seems that he has not come to grips with the tragedy, a painful acceptance by any parent who realizes that their young child will never get to experience the best parts of life and enjoying their youth. However, he still seemed to believe that his son did not get a fair trial as he raised concerns regarding the testimony of the victim’s father saying, “This man also went on the stand and said that these same police officers who carried out the arrest of my son & my family from my home are working for me and he feared his life.”
“The same man who claim he feared his life, still gave over 14 pages of statements? The inconsistencies inna this man statement only shed light on the corruption,” he said.
Meanwhile, as Mavado deals with the legal issues surrounding Brooks’ sentence, he’s also mourning the death of his mother, who died hours before Brooks’ original sentencing date. The artiste may also be unable to attend his mother’s funeral as he remains wanted for questioning in connection with Thomas’ murder and might be arrested once he arrives in Jamaica. In light of that, the dancehall singer will likely remain in the United States, where he is currently a legal permanent resident.