Published: September 29, 2012
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ST. CROIX - Even as he stood before the judge on Friday, awaiting sentencing for killing another man, Shilohe Urgent maintained his innocence and pleaded for police to find the true killers.
Urgent's attorney, Yohanna Manning, had entered a no contest plea, in which defendants plead guilty to the charge because they say they realize that the evidence against them is such that a reasonable jury could find them guilty.
Manning told the court Friday that while Urgent pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, he still maintains his innocence.
Despite Urgent's protestations of innocence, V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks sentenced him to 10 years.
In handing down the sentence, Willocks told Urgent that while he pleaded no contest to the charge, Urgent still was exposed to punishment as a straight guilty plea. He told Urgent his time in jail will give him a chance to turn his life around and push toward becoming someone in life.
The judge also advised Urgent that the time could be reduced to nine years if he shows the court by the end of March that he has registered for education programs in prison.
Urgent was arrested in July 2009 when he was 16 years old an charged with gunning down 43-year-old Stanislas McIntosh in the streets of Estate Campo Rico one month earlier.
According to police, McIntosh was shot once in the chest, and as he turned to run away, he was shot three more times in the back and once more as he lay helpless on the ground. The shooter then rode away on a bicycle, witnesses said.
Urgent was arrested and held in pre-trial custody as the case went through the process in Family Court. Months later, in October 2009, he was bound over at the age of 17 to face the charges as an adult. Following a bail hearing, he was released on bail and placed on house arrest.
Twice during Urgent's release, Willocks said, he violated his release conditions by violating his curfew. The second time, Urgent was shot in his shoulder and arms while riding a bicycle on the highway. Police suspect there was an exchange of fire.
Since his release from the hospital after treatment for his injuries, Urgent was remanded to Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility.
During Urgent's sentencing hearing, Manning said the eyewitness for the prosecution has an extensive criminal history and had been at Urgent's house within the hour of police executing the search warrant that netted the possible murder weapon under Urgent's mattress. "This was the perfect crime, where someone commits a crime, the crime was solved and someone else goes to jail for it," Manning said. "Mr. Urgent was arrested at 16 and is growing up in prison for a crime he did not commit."
Urgent addressed the court, telling the judge that he is innocent and being punished for a crime that he did not commit. He said he was wasting his life away in jail and wanted to go back to school and make something of his life.
"I did not do it. It was not me judge," Urgent said. "I took DNA and fingerprints for them to prove that it was not me, and nothing didn't come back."
Velma Urgent, the defendant's mother, testified in a slow steady voice, saying that she knows he is innocent because he was at home at the time of the shooting.
"I feel really bad for the victim. I'm sorry for him," she said. "But I don't know how they can say it was Shilohe that did it."
Assistant Attorney General Kippy Roberson said the prosecution's case was primarily based on statements from a convict who is serving time in a stateside prison, but he believes the statement is credible.
Roberson said that when Urgent's family was called to his office to offer any information on the case, they refused to cooperate with him.
"Any information they had could have been exculpatory," he said.
Roberson said the prosecution would have been able to sustain the case had it gone to trial.
Virgin McIntosh, the victim's mother, struggled to speak through tears as she described how her son's murder has affected her.
"He didn't deserve to die like that. He didn't do anything to anyone," she said. "He was shot in the back, pow, pow, pow, and it destroy everything inside of him."
She held on to the lectern before collapsing as a deputy marshal helped her away and her cries grew louder.
"Why Shilohe, why?" she asked. "What was his last words? Shilohe, what did he say?"
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.