BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – SOUVIN ADOLFO RITCHEN of Upper Durant Avenue, Basseterre will have to spend the rest of his life at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) for the 2015 murder of 17-year-old Rakeim ‘Rackbo’ Hanley of Fort Thomas Road, Basseterre.
According to a police communiqué, the life sentence was recently handed down to the 30-year-old at the Basseterre High Court.
At the trial, Ritchen was represented by Jason Hamilton and the matter was prosecuted by Director of Public Prosecutions Valston Graham, who was assisted by Crown Counsels Greatess Gordon and Vaughn Woodley.
The prosecution team had called on two eyewitnesses, who took the stand and recanted the statements they gave to police following the shooting incident.
The witnesses both maintained that they saw Ritchen shoot Hanley and their statements were entered into evidence on request of the DPP.
At the end of his trial in November, last, Ritchen was found guilty of murder and the judge had ordered the preparation of a Social Inquiry Report.
He was then further remanded to prison until his sentencing hearing.
According to a police statement, the Court described the murder as cold, vicious and the worst case scenario and that the degree of seriousness was exceptionally high.
It further said the Court also stated that Ritchen’s conduct was a proclamation of his untouchability in the community and that his good character was eclipsed by the circumstances of the case.
Following the shooting of Hanley on the night of Tuesday, August 25, 2015, this media house had visited the scene and spoke with one McKnight resident, who said he had just returned home at about 9:00 p.m. when he heard the sound of gunfire coming from the direction of Fort Thomas Road.
“I was about to take a bath when I heard a sound resembling that of a gun being fired. It was not loud and I dismissed the thought. However, shortly after the first one, I heard about five more and I realised that it had to be someone firing a gun,” the resident said.
He told this publication that his fears were confirmed a few minutes later after hearing the wailing sound of an ambulance.
“After hearing the sound of the ambulance, I hurriedly dressed and got out of my home. But by the time I reached where a crowd had gathered, I learned that a youth was shot and the ambulance was rushing him to the hospital.”
Recounting what he learnt, the resident said that while the young man was riding a bicycle along Fort Thomas Road, he was shot in the vicinity of the steps that lead to the Bay Road in Irish Town.
“I was told that he received the first shot while riding on Fort Thomas Road. I think they say that the bullet grazed his head and he jumped off the bicycle. He tried to run away from his attacker in the direction of the steps, but he was shot again and he fell down on the road.”
The resident further said he was told that the perpetrator then went over the fallen victim and fired more shots into his body.
SKNVibes learnt that Hanley was shot four times, including once to the head.
Hanley, who was said to be residing in McKnight but originally hailed from Market Street, was taken to the hospital where he died several hours after in the Intensive Care Unit.
On Saturday, August 29, 2015, Ritchen and his brother, Trevon Travis Ritchen, were taken into police custody and were charged three days later with Murder.
The younger brother was however set free during the Preliminary Inquiry.