Some tough Canadian justice was served up today to a 31 yr. old Vancouver man, born in Montreal to parents who had come here from Jamaica. The jury gave Dennis Knibbs, on trial for murdering Trumaine "Ekoh" Nabib, 21, in the New Wings Hotel on Apr. 4, 2005, the maximum allowable: second degree murder. They rejected the option of manslaughter, although questions they sent back to the judge and lawyers suggest they grappled with it.
Knibbs will get an automatic 25 year sentence. He will have to serve a minimum of 10 years before he is eligible for parole.
Judge Silverman asked the jury of 8 women and four men, all White, except for two women of Japanese descent, to decide whether they would like to make a sentencing recommendation. They had the right, he explained, to recommend that Knibbs be required to serve more than ten years before being eligible for parole. The judge assured them that he would definitely take their recommendation into consideration. They wanted to go for lunch first. But they returned to the court room in mid-afternoon to recommend that Knibbs be eligible for parole after 10 years.
Knibbs remained stoic as the verdict was read. His lawyer, Glen Orris, who had in the moments before the verdict sat beside him and put his hand on the arm of Knibbs' chair, spoke softly to him now.
Knibbs made a cell phone call and then handed the phone to one of his male friends in the gallery.
A twenty-something Black woman who had accompanied Knibbs to court on the first day and regularly since, sobbed when the verdict was read -- Canadian style though, she didn't make a scene. Outside the courtroom, near the washroom which she had found locked on a Saturday, a young Black woman held her and she sobbed, louder.
Knibbs allowed the sheriffs to take him out to jail, no fuss. As he left, he turned to his male buddies who were sitting quietly, and with hand to forehead gave them a good-bye salute.
Ekoh Habib's family was not present for the verdict, although his mother has made appearances at the trial.