International — 24 June 2014 — by Phil Benson
Phoenix man sentenced in 9-hour standoff

A former resident of Belize City, Wentworth Hemmings, who now lives in Phoenix in the United States, has been sentenced today after a hostage situation that lasted more than nine hours.

Judge Bruce Cohen sentenced Hemmings, 40, to 31 years in prison and lifetime probation with sex offender terms, according to the court spokesperson.

Hemmings was charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder, six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, six counts of kidnapping and two counts of sexual assault.

Police said that in October 2011, Hemmings entered the home of his former girlfriend, who had a restraining order against him. Four of the ex-girlfriend’s children were asleep at the time. Once they awoke, Hemmings threatened the 35-year-old woman and her children at gunpoint.

The woman managed to escape by running out the front door with her 20-month-old daughter she shares with Hemmings.

Officers evacuated neighbors in the area and established a perimeter around the home.

Sgt. Steve Martos said the 14-year-old daughter of the ex-girlfriend claims she was assaulted by Hemmings after her mother escaped. As she ran from the home, Martos said, Hemmings opened fire. The teen was not struck.

A 16-year-old boy and 5-month-old child were held hostage in the home until Hemmings surrendered about 6 p.m. that same day.

Authorities say the 14-year-old daughter was hospitalized and her injuries were consistent with sexual assault.

Hemmings has been booked on one count of attempted murder, first degree, six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and two counts of sexual assault, as well as several counts of kidnapping.

Hemmings was known as “Jewboy” in Belize City, and had lived in Belize for about 10 years before migrating to the United States.

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