A 49-year-old woman and her half brother, who is 53, were today both sentenced to life in prison for their role in what was described as a “chilling and merciless” murder committed in 2006.
Katrina Burgess and Cleveland Rogers will have to serve at least 25 years in prison before they become eligible for parole, for the murder of Marcus Gibbings, who was 32-years-old.
The sentence was meted out by Puisne Judge Craig Attridge, who said if he could, he would have considered an even harsher prison sentence for this “senseless” killing.
“It was clear Mr Gibbings was many things to many people,” said Justice Attridge.
“A beloved son and father, a trusted friend and a responsible and well-liked colleague.
“He didn’t deserve to die in this violent and depraved manner,” he added.
The case was prosecuted by Carrington Mahoney, a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, who said it was a “deliberate” murder that was planned and executed by the defendants.
The court heard during the trial that Burgess had been in a relationship with Mr Gibbings and that she paid Rogers $5,000 to kill him after they had broken up.
The victim was lured to his Devonshire home where he was ambushed by Rogers with a knife.
Mr Gibbings was found in a pool of blood in a Derwent Lane, Devonshire apartment on October 26, 2006, with multiple stab wounds including one that struck his heart.
The Crown called for the maximum penalty – a life sentence with a 25-year tariff before parole.
In a victim impact statement, the victim’s family asked the court to show “no mercy” for this murder that left three children without their father.
“We would give anything to have Marcus with us, to take away the pain and terror he suffered that night,” the statement said.
The family added that Burgess tried “everything possible” to disrupt their grieving process over the 13 years that passed since Mr Gibbings’ death.
“All Marcus ever did was try to love her and her daughter and for that he paid the ultimate price — his life,” they said.
Lawyer Marc Daniels, who appeared for Rogers, agreed that a life sentence was appropriate in a case of premeditated murder.
But he urged the court to consider his client’s age when determining when he would be eligible for parole.
“Mr Rogers is 53-years-old. A 25-year tariff would bring him to 78-years-old,” he said.
He called for a lower tariff of 22 years, saying it was unlikely that his client would be back before the court at the age of 75.
Lawyer Charles Richardson, who appeared for Burgess, said a tariff of 25 years would amount to a “whole life” sentence.
“This is not a case in which a sentence that ultimately amounts to the deprivation of the rest of the defendant’s natural life is required,” he said.
Even if their parole applications were successful, they would remain under supervision for the rest of their lives, he added.
The defendants were found guilty of premeditated in March.
Although the verdict was unanimous, both defendants reportedly plan to appeal the convictions meted out today.