William Ian Rivers, 40, was sentenced on Friday for the murder of Mark ‘Hubba’ Seymour in West Bay on Jan. 28, 2017. Justice Frank Williams set 35 years as the term Rivers must serve before he is eligible to apply for conditional release.

He noted that Rivers had pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter. The Crown had not accepted the plea and the matter went to trial.

In September 2018, a jury of six men and six women found Rivers guilty of murder. He had relied on a defence of “diminished responsibility”, which the jury rejected.

Sentencing was adjourned so that the court could receive a social inquiry report and victim impact statement. On Friday, Justice Williams gave his decision via video link.

Rivers had told the jury that he had been drinking for five days before he shot Seymour. He said he was upset because he was unemployed and people were telling him that his wife had asked for money from Seymour, who was her ex-boyfriend.

The shooting occurred outside the Super C Restaurant on Watercourse Road. The judge said it happened in broad daylight, in the presence of several people trying to flee for their lives. When Seymour fell, someone called out to Rivers, who replied that he intended to kill Seymour. That was what Seymour was meant to hear in the last few moments of his life, the judge commented.

The social inquiry report had revealed a lack of empathy for the victim, Justice Williams said, and the risk of offending again was high.

The Conditional Release Law makes it clear that the sentence for murder is life imprisonment. ‘Life’ is considered to be 30 years, but this period may be increased or decreased if the judge finds there are aggravating or extenuating circumstances.

In sentencing Rivers, the judge said he found no extenuating features of any exceptional nature, but there were enough aggravating features to increase the starting point. He pointed out that the sentence he passed had to satisfy the requirements of retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation.

In addition to murder, Rivers was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm, for which he received eight years; and unlawful use of a firearm, threatening to shoot a woman nearby if she said anything to anyone, for which he received three years.

Both of theses terms were made to run concurrently with the 35-year sentence.

Rivers is to receive credit for the 791 days in custody since his arrest.

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