“Robbery of a commercial establishment with intended physical harm done is a serious offense that warrants imprisonment”
(CMR) Kasnique Austin Cupid was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months for her role in the Tortuga Liquor Store robbery. Her co-accused Richard Edward Nash received 12 years imprisonment. At one point the judge observed that Cupid was far more intelligent than Nash which made him “easy prey” and that she was a “shrewd, manipulative young woman.”
Visiting Justice McDonald-Bishop delivered her sentence via Zoom Friday afternoon for the February 2020 Governor's Square Robbery. The same judge convicted them and referred to her early judgment in that matter.
She started off the sentencing hearing on Friday afternoon with a general acceptance that the custody threshold had been reached and there were no exceptional circumstances to justify the suspension of a custodial sentence for either defendant. She said a custodial sentence “would serve the ends of justice.”
The offense was a category 2A because it involved knives that were not concealed. At one point Nash held a knife toward one of the victims and when she attempted to run she fell and injured herself. The judge accepted that the weapons were used to threaten violence.
The consideration for Cupid's sentence started at the 9-year threshold and then the judge contemplated the mitigating and aggravating factors specific to her.
Justice McDonald-Bishop noted that she considered several aggravating features including the pre-mediation of the robbery. She noted that the commercial robbery was a “less sophisticated commercial robbery” but involved several individuals, the latter a more aggravating offense. The judge noted that the robbers had little regard for law and order.
Specific to Cupid she noted that the breach of trust was a “weighty aggravating factor.” The judge continued that she would have known that her co-workers would be present at the time of the commission of the offense; which the court accepted she orchestrated. She further opined that she had inside knowledge of the liquor store which was provided to the robbers.
The judge shared her desire to deliver a sentence that was proportionate in all the circumstances weighing both the mitigation and aggravating factors. However, she refused to give any significant weight to her role as a mother to two minor children. Justice McDonald-Bishop noted that she would have been aware of their well-being when she decided to carry out the robbery.
She also noted Cupid's attempt to enlist her friend to cover up the offense after the fact.
However, she did take pity on the defendant who has a special needs child and credited her a 6-month reduction for consideration of that. She also noted that Cupid would receive credit for her previously good character since she had no convictions.
When considering the sentence for Nash she noted that there were additional aggravating factors for him that had to be considered separately from Cupid.
Of particular aggravation was what the court termed “gratuitous violence” towards one of the sales clerks who Nash kicked in the face while she was defenseless on the ground during the commission of the robbery. The judge found this carried significant weight in increasing his sentence and shared that it was:
“unwarranted, cruel and degrading”
Nash also had a previous conviction for wounding and has a 10-month sentence for that which was reinstated by the court. The judge also observed what appeared to be an escalation in his offenses and deemed it necessary to have this sentence run concurrently to the one for robbery.
When considering his mitigating circumstances she noted that he was in his early 20s and impressionable and could have been guided by the older Nash to not commit the offense. It was at this stage that she spoke about the conniving nature of Kasnique Cupid who she observed as relatively intelligent.
She also noted that the SIR indicated Nash had a high chance of reoffending.
Nash also appears to have a low literacy rate and she encouraged him to take advantage of the opportunities to improve his reading while in prison.
This defendant has a young child but the Judge was not willing to give him any consideration because he was not the primary caregiver of the child and has spent very little time with it. No allowance was therefore given.
In his case, the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors and he was given two additional years and six months over Cupid.
In the final analysis, she encouraged both defendants to use their time in jail wisely and shared:
“I have done all that I could have done with the law before me. Make yourself better inviduals whilst incarcerated.”
Cupid joined the proceedings from prison while Nash appeared in person. Both defendants will be entitled to full credit for time in custody while awaiting sentence and for Nash his time while on monitored bail.