Judge sentences 2 men to 40 and 46 years for attempted murder and armed robbery
Published: October 11, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Two men convicted of what prosecutors called a "heinous" attempted first-degree murder and robbery were sentenced Thursday in District Court to 40 and 46 years of incarceration.
Chief District Judge Curtis Gomez sentenced Roland Murrell Jr., 20, to 46 and a half years, about 16 and a half years of which will be served in federal prison. The remainder of his time will be served in territorial prison.
Gomez sentenced Ayala King, 23, to 40 years of incarceration, about 10 years of which will be served in federal prison, with the remainder of his time served in territorial prison.
The sentences for both men were adjusted according to sentencing laws that Gomez reviewed after first meeting with the men and their attorneys in court Thursday morning. Initially, Gomez sentenced Murrell to 56 years and King to 25.
Judith Bourne, King's attorney, and Clive Rivers, Murrell's attorney, said that they will appeal the sentences. They have two weeks to do so.
Additionally, both men will have to share the responsibility of paying the victim restitution, which has added up to tens of thousands of dollars.
The amount of restitution has not been set because Gomez wanted to give the men and their attorneys ample time to review and challenge any of the expenses that make up the restitution, which primarily consists of health expenses. They have 90 days to challenge any of the expenses.
Each man also is expected to pay $25,100 in fines.
Murrell and King shot and robbed Leayle King Sr. on the doorstep of his Anna's Retreat home on Jan. 27, according to court documents, leaving him lying on his stomach in a pool of his own blood. Leayle King Sr. was in critical condition after the incident but survived.
"There are things that would cause many people to be shocked," Gomez said of the case.
Murrell and Ayala King were found guilty during a jury trial in July of 13 of the 18 charges that they initially faced. It is not clear from court documents whether Ayala King and Leayle King Sr. are related.
Murrell and Ayala King jointly were found guilty of attempted first-degree murder; two counts of first-degree assault; first-degree robbery; possession of stolen property; and conspiracy.
Murrell separately was found guilty of using a firearm during a violent crime; using an unlicensed firearm during attempted first-degree murder; using an unlicensed firearm during first- and third-degree assault; and using an unlicensed firearm during a robbery.
King separately was found guilty of using a firearm during a violent crime; using an unlicensed firearm during attempted first-degree murder; using an unlicensed firearm during first- and third-degree assault; and using an unlicensed firearm during a robbery.
According to court records, Murrell and King were armed with a 9 mm handgun and a .380-caliber handgun when they robbed Leayle King Sr.
Leayle King Sr., according to his wife's statements to police, was wearing several pieces of gold jewelry when he left his home the day of the incident.
He was wearing a large gold chain necklace with a large gold lion head pendant, a large gold hand chain, several gold rings and a gold ECKO watch, according to court records.
His gold rings and watch were on the ground where he lay after being shot, but the necklace, lion head pendant and hand chain were missing, according to court records.
Murrell and Ayala King later were spotted trying to sell several large pieces of gold chain at cash-for-gold stores on Raadets Gade.
"I suspect that each of you feel that these sentences may be harsh, especially since you both maintain your innocence," Gomez said. "But you are not here by accident."
- Contact Jenny Kane at 340-714-9102 or email email@example.com.