‘Ruthless monster’ sentenced to life imprisonment for murder of newspaper vendor
Norlando Brown was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 30 years for the murder of 48-year-old newspaper vendor, Shawn Munilall, who was shot during a robbery three years ago.
In a previous hearing before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the Essequibo High Court, Brown had pleaded guilty to murdering Munilall, called ‘Paper Man’ during the course or furtherance of a robbery on January 10, 2020.
While delivering his sentencing remarks on Friday, the judge said that Munilall was “shot down and riddled with bullets” by Brown and others during a robbery at his Queenstown, Essequibo Coast home.
He added that Munilall was shot four times while going to his wife and daughter’s rescue as they were screaming for help during the home invasion.
Justice Kissoon added that the robbery was meticulously planned and executed by the perpetrators, which is a grave concern to the court and citizens at large, as this level of sophistication in crime is becoming increasingly prevalent in society.
“Members of society must be free to go about their business, to conduct their affairs, and to be in their homes without fear of being robbed or killed. The alternative is unacceptable and cannot be condoned,” the High Court judge said.
Justice Kissoon singled out specific aggravating factors and circumstances of this crime, including the degree of planning, orchestration, and premeditation by Brown, who went to great lengths to identify his intended victim.
He added that Brown went as far as conducting surveillance of the area, procuring weapons and a motorcycle helmet to conceal his identity.
“This offense remains of utmost concern as community after community within our nation is confronted with violent, brutal murders in an unparalleled and unprecedented wave of robberies with violence. Resulting in killings, creating a greater alarm requires urgent condign sentences to bring an end to such violent criminal conduct,” the judge lamented.
As part of the sentence, Justice Kissoon ordered that Brown benefit from all vocational training and educational programmes that are available and conducted within the prison so that he can rehabilitate himself before returning to society.
During the hearing, the victim’s daughter, Vidya Munilall, faced Brown in court and read her impact statement, detailing how his actions affected the life of her family.
“No one should have to know what this feels like; unbearable emptiness that you cannot escape from. No one deserves to have their own life taken from them. Most believe that it will never happen to them. I was one of those persons until Norlando Brown murdered my hero.
“I should have spent my twenties laughing, meeting new people, and celebrating, instead of staying in courtrooms, testifying, waiting…In the years since my trauma, I’ve felt like I was constantly being followed by a dark shadow, reminding me of the horrors I went through. There is no cure for the discomfort I find in my own body. I stand before you today as a person who has lost their sense of normality,” she said.
The grieving daughter expressed that she is still traumatised over her father’s death and is struggling to move on.
She tearfully shared that her father will never witness her graduation from university, her wedding, or see his grandchildren’s faces.
“Norlando Brown is a ruthless monster, and even life imprisonment will never bring back my hero. It will never mend my broken heart,” the victim’s daughter said as she asked the judge to impose a strict sentence on the convict.
In 2020, three men were charged jointly with Brown for the crime. However, two of them were later freed due to the lack of evidence.
The State was represented by prosecutor Taneisha Saygon, while Brown was represented by attorney Damien DaSilva
I grieve with the family for the great loss of the head of the home the breadwinner and a loving father. As his daughter stated, no amount of jail time could suffice for that loss. What trauma, what horror the family suffered that fateful night. That is a pain that not even ime could heal.To his grieving daughter I say stay strong. You have become a better person from the experience you have gained.