Holmes sentenced to 54 years for Norwich murder

A New London Superior Court judge on Monday sentenced Daquan R. Holmes to 54 years in prison for the 2011 murder of Johnny Amy, calling the shooting a senseless act of violence in which Holmes demonstrated an astounding disregard for human life.

A jury in May had convicted Holmes, 27, of murder and attempted murder for the May 21, 2011, shooting on Franklin Street in Norwich.

Amy’s family, who attended multiple court appearances while the case was pending and watched the trial, said they were thankful that the justice system had worked but that they would never recover.

They were angry after the sentencing that Holmes, who maintains his innocence, had not shown any remorse.

“I still got a feeling in my heart because the guy stole a life and it was my son,” said Mario Amy, the victim’s father.

Amy, 25, who was of Haitian descent, worked at Foxwoods Casino and had a son who is now 5 years old and living with his mother, according to Amy’s family.

According to testimony at the trial, Holmes and William A. “Trig” Long had retrieved a gun following a dispute with local resident Cornelius Wingate outside of Chacers Bar. Amy, 25, had spent the night with friends and was walking home with Joseph Cadet, who was wearing a red shirt, the same color as the intended target. Though Cadet told Holmes he had the wrong people, Holmes shot Amy with a Ruger .22-caliber pistol, according to testimony.

During the trial, the jury had watched footage captured by a surveillance camera at a nearby laundromat that showed Amy walking behind Cadet before collapsing suddenly in the middle of the street. The surveillance video did not show the shooter, but two women who were out with Holmes and Long that night testified that Long had handed the gun to Holmes before the two men jumped out of the car and gunfire erupted. Holmes fled to New York City after the shooting and was serving time for an armed robbery of a check-cashing business when Norwich police retrieved him and charged him with murder in June 2013.

In taking his case to trial, Holmes, of Queens, had rejected an offer from prosecutor Stephen M. Carney to plead guilty in exchange for a 37-year sentence.

“What happened on May 21, 2011, was just unspeakable,” Carney said. “He had a very minor dispute with an individual and that escalated to his committing a murder.”

Defense attorney Christopher Duby, whose motions to overturn the verdict were denied by Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed, said Holmes is a respectful man who has been haunted by the events of that night, but “not because he did it.”

“For all of the state’s evidence, there’s nothing to show he was even in Norwich that night,” Duby said.

Holmes declined to address the court.

The case of Holmes’ 34-year-old co-defendant Long is pending in the same courthouse. He is being held in lieu of $750,000 at the MacDougall-Walker Correction Institution and is due back in court on Aug. 18.

k.florin@theday.com

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