Headline — 20 August 2013 — by Rochelle Gillett
Nicannor Fermin, 41, gets 18 years for sex with child, 9

Fermin was sentenced to 64 years, but he will only serve 18 years; the sentences are to run concurrently

On July 31, 2013, Nicannor Fermin, 41, was convicted of six counts of carnal knowledge after a 9- member jury found him guilty on all six counts.

Fermin was accused of having sexual intercourse with a child from the time she was 9 years old, up until she entered high school. The girl was finally brave enough to report the matter to a teacher in January of 2010.

During the trial, the minor gave detailed accounts of the occasions when Fermin engaged in sexual intercourse with her, and also testified about the threats he made to prevent her from refusing his sexual advances.

In his defense, Fermin testified that he was only trying to steer the child in the right direction, and that she was having a relationship with someone who was too old for her. He said that it’s because he tried to deter her from seeing that person that she made up the lies about him, and that it was the person with whom she had had the relationship, that had committed the crime.

But after hearing all the evidence that was presented by the Crown’s representative, Leroy Banner, the jury took just under three hours to return guilty verdicts on all six counts.

Although sentencing was set for August 9, Justice John Troadio Gonzalez adjourned the matter, allowing Banner to research arguments related to this type of crime and to gather data, based on the amount of counts Fermin was found guilty of, on the sentencing it required.

This morning, Banner made those arguments, after which Fermin was allowed to give his mitigation plea. But it wasn’t much of a mitigation plea, as Fermin only told the court that these were his first offenses and that he had had no other problems with the law.

Five witnesses then spoke on Fermin’s behalf, all of whom spoke well about him. First to take the stand was Elizabeth Pratt, who testified that she had lived with Fermin for 8 years, and although she had three little girls, not once had he touched any of them in that manner.

She also begged the court to have mercy on him because he is a father to five children, three of whom depend on him financially. She also said that although Fermin does not give her money for the two children she has for him, he buys the things that they need.

Next was Deborah Swazo, his common-law wife, who has one child with him, and she told the court that if Fermin goes to jail for a long time, his child will suffer, so she begged for leniency.

Other witnesses included his nephew, Gilroy Fermin; his sister, Consita Beeks; and his niece, Jessica Beeks, all of whom spoke very highly of him. Gilroy Fermin spoke especially well about his uncle, whom he said was a father figure to him, and said that he is a very dedicated and hardworking person, and a disciplined individual.

After hearing their pleas, Justice Gonzalez spoke directly to Fermin and told him “I have heard the mitigation pleas by your witnesses, all of whom are your relatives. Two of them expressed that you have 3 children who are dependent on you. These are things you should have considered before allowing the devil to tempt you.”

Justice Gonzalez then took a 15-minute adjournment to consider the mitigation pleas, and when he returned, he spoke regarding the sentences. For the first two counts, Fermin could have been sentenced to a minimum of 12 years and a maximum life sentence, because the child had been younger than 12 at the time the incidents occurred. For the other four counts, since the child was older than 14 years, but younger than 16, the minimum was 5 years, and the maximum was 10 years.

Justice Gonzalez then sentenced Fermin to 18 years each for the first two counts, and 7 years each for the other four counts. However, the sentences are to run concurrently, so Fermin will only spend 18 years in prison, a sentence which became effective today.

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