Pair given life sentence for the murder of Catholic schoolboy seven years ago
Published 10/04/2013 | 18:30
Two men who were once jailed for life for the murder of a Catholic teenager but had their convictions quashed, have been jailed for life again after they admitted the killing.
On the third day of their Belfast Crown Court trial, lawyers for both 26-year-old Christopher Francis Kerr and Aaron Cavana Wallace (25) asked for the charge of murdering Michael McIlveen to be put to them again.
Both Ballymena men Kerr and Wallace pleaded guilty to murdering the 15-year-old schoolboy on May 8 2006 but showed no emotion as they did so.
Back in May 2009 both Kerr and Wallace were jailed for life after a jury convicted them of the schoolboy's murder but the Court of Appeal quashed those convictions and ordered a retrial.
At that time Kerr, who has yet to show any remorse for supplying the baseball bat used to attack the teenager, was ordered to serve at least 13 years behind bars while Wallace was handed a minimum tariff of 11 years by then trial judge Mr Justice Treacy.
They were not the only men to be sentenced for involvement in the sectarian attack.
Mervyn Wilson Moon (25) from Douglas Terrace, Ballymena, who used the bat handed to him by Kerr to attack Mickey Bo, was jailed for at least 10 years after he pleaded guilty to murder.
Convicted alongside Kerr and Wallace at the time was 23-year-old Christopher Andrew McLeister of Knockeen Crescent, also Ballymena, who walked free after his three-year jail term was suspended for two years.
Freed with him were 23-year-olds Paul Edward David Henson of Condiere Avenue, given nine months for affray and and Peter Gavin McMullan from Meadowvale, again Ballymena, given a conditional discharge for criminal damage.
During what was described as "one of the lengthiest jury trials" which had lasted 52 days from September 2008 until the jurys' verdicts in February 2009, the court heard how the event which led to the teenager's death began at the cinema and leisure centre at Larne Link, Ballymena and after he and a friend were chased through nearby housing by a gang including the accused, they finally ended up in the carpark at the rear of Camerons' Shop in Broughshane Street where they were attacked.
Although afterwards Michael and his friend returned home, the schoolboy was later taken to Antrim Area Hospital by ambulance where he died from his injuries.
Following the guilty pleas yesterday Mr Justice Weatherup ordered the killers to stand up, telling each of them: "Aaron Wallace I sentence you to life imprisonment. Christopher Kerr I sentence you to life imprisonment."
He told the pair that once pre-sentence probation reports had been compiled, he would fix the minimum tariff each of them must serve in jail before being considered for release and remanded them back into custody until May 24.