Kevin Warner, 18. Charge: Murder, plus possessing a wooden cane as an offensive weapon in public
Kevin Warner, 18. Charge: Murder, plus possessing a wooden cane as an offensive weapon in public
Among the hundreds of onlookers who lined the streets yesterday, a deep hush and sense of sadness fell at the thought of yet another young life lost. But this time there was also something else: the shock at the age of those who stand accused of murder; and a feeling that Bermuda has passed another grim milestone. All five suspects in the killing of 18-year-old Kellon Hill are teenagers. One is just 15. Another is a 16-year-old girl. Prosecutors believe it was her who stabbed Kellon with a screwdriver after he fought to stop them stealing his gold chain and pendant, bearing a likeness of Jesus.

Zharrin Simmons, 16. Charge: Murder, plus having a sharply pointed article (thought to be the screwdriver) in public.
*File photo

Dressed in Jeans and T-shirts, all five suspects looked no older than children as they arrived in unmarked police cars and were marched in handcuffs into Magistrate's Court. People lined Reid Street and clustered in the grounds of Parliament - some standing on cars and walls for a better view of the accused as they were escorted into the rear of court. The girl, Zharrin Simmons, pulled up a hood to hide her face from the crowds. One of the boys, 16-year-old Kallon Lewis, tried on a cocky smile but finally bowed his head. "They're just kids - no more than kids," one onlooker sighed.

Devon Hairston, 17. Charge: Murder, plus possessing a crash helmet as an offensive weapon in public.
*Photo by Leah Furbert

Inside, the five suspects came face-to-face with the family of their alleged victim for the first time. Kellon's father, Daniel, a respected educator and music teacher, took his place among more than 40 relatives who lined the benches of the court. Visibly shaken, Mr. Hill was comforted throughout proceedings by friends and family. Dressed all in black, Kina Hill, 30, Kellon's doctor sister, sat with her head bowed. Relatives of the suspects were also present, and the hushed atmosphere occasionally gave way to sobs of anguish and tense exchanges. "This is my boy!" a relative of one of the accused blurted out as she burst into tears. "'Your' boy?" responded a supporter of the Hill family. When defence lawyer Saul Froomkin applied for bail for his client, 15-year-old Gary Hollis, and suggested that the police be instructed to guard him for his safety, one of Kellon's brothers, 23-year-old Kudre, shouted: "You're a joke, b'y!". He was ordered to leave the courtroom. Friends worked throughout to restrain observers and sooth nerves. The five accused stood dispassionate in the dock, surrounded by plainclothes police and behind a line of defence lawyers.

Father's torment: Daniel Hill, 57, was one of more than 40 people who packed out the court to hear the five teenagers accused of beating and stabbing his son to death after he refused to give up his gold chain.
*Photo by Tim Hall

After lengthy bail arguments, all five suspects were remanded in custody ahead of their Supreme Court trial. They were led from the court and back into the waiting police cars. By now, word of the court appearance had spread, and the crowds had swelled still further. Police had blocked off Reid Street and an eerie quiet had fallen as onlookers waited for the youths to appear and then watched them being taken away. Even on an island that is becoming increasingly accustomed to violence, the sight of children in handcuffs has the ability to send shockwaves.

High profile: Dozens of police officers guarded the five suspects as they were escorted in and out of court. Hundreds of people waited to see the accused, including 16-year-old Zharrin Simmons, who hid from the crowds under her hood.
*Photo by Leah Furbert
Well-wishers Kellon's family emerged from court and were greeted with hugs from well-wishers. His father, shaking and close to tears, needed help making his way to a waiting car. His two brothers linked arms and leaned silently against the court wall. For many onlookers, the shock and sadness were also mixed with a sense of deja-vu. It is only six weeks since Reid Street was lined with people wanting a glimpse of the man accused of murdering teenager Rhiana Moore. How long will it be, those people can't help wondering, before Hamilton again stops and watches, shocked, while another family grieves?