December 20, 2000
Bank robbery killer convicted
Man received life sentence for shooting Nancy Kidd to death
Guilty verdict brings relief
Peel/ Malton Bureau Chief
A Toronto man has been found guilty of first- degree murder in the shooting of Brampton bank employee Nancy Kidd.
The jury took six hours over two days to convict 22- year- old Marlon Rowe.
Family members, including Kidd’s widower David and their children Michael, 23, and Eryn, 21, cheered the verdict, shouting a resounding “yes,” then crying and hugging one another yesterday in a Brampton courtroom.
Rowe has pleaded not guilty to first- degree murder. Defence lawyer David Midanik sought a manslaughter conviction, insisting Rowe accidentally shot Kidd during the terrifying January 11, 1999 robbery of a Toronto Dominion Bank in Brampton.
Many of the bank employees, who were terrorized during the robbery, including Connie Lowry, Joanne Wiley, and Manjinder Sihota, were in the packed courtroom and also cried at hearing the verdict.
Kidd, 44,, the first person killed in a Canadian bank robbery in 2 years was shot in the back of the neck by one of four masked bandits robbing the Sandalwood Plaza bank. The customer service representative died from massive blood loss from a gunshot wound in her neck.
The verdict came just after the noon hour, almost the same time that Kidd was shot and left to bleed to death on the bank floor that tragic January day.
Rowe showed no emotion and declined to say anything before Mr. Justice Ron Thomas sentenced him to life in prison without parole eligibility for 25 years.
The jury wasn’t told that co-accused, Dain Campbell, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. had already pleaded guilty to second- degree murder and is serving a life sentence without parole for 10 years. Since Campbell was given credit for pre- trial custody, he will be eligible for parole in eight years.
Campbell, who had also been charged with first- degree murder, pleaded guilty to second- degree murder on November 14, but Thomas imposed a publication ban on his case, telling jurors only that Campbell’s trial was being dealt with separately.
The six men and six women didn’t know that in the statement of facts, read into the court two weeks before Rowe’s trial, Campbell admitted the four robbers went into the Sandalwood Plaza bank prepared to shoot employees if they didn’t open the vault.
Outside the courthouse, David Kiss said, “Our lives have been so different, it will never be the same. Some says it’s hard to get motivated but I’m hoping as time goes by, things will get better.”
Fighting back tears, son Michael Kidd said: “I’m happy it’s over. I’m glad he got what he deserved. But it won’t bring her back and I don’t think life is enough.”
Kidd’s niece, Amanda Pineau, said she hoped when Rowe “dies God will send him to Hell.” She cried and clutched the arm of her mother Marlene.
Another niece, Tammy Campagne, said justice was only served politically “but not in our hearts.” Looking up to the sky she said “I hope Nancy is watching us. Merry Christmas, we love you, this is for you.”
Kidd’s brother-in-law, Bill Harmon, said, “The maximum sentence will give Nancys family some closure, but in 25 years he will be up for parole and he will be about the same age as Nancy was when she was killed. We will never forget and we will be there and we will be there to make sure he gets the maximum sentence.”
- Campbell was arrested with Rowe Jan.16 during a high risk take down after leaving a meeting with psychic Rhyll Carty. In the meeting secretly videotaped by Peel Region police, Campbell admitted to participating in the TD robbery and planning other bank robberies.
- Rowe and Campbell participated in several bank robberies believed to be committed by the notorious Van Bandits, who police say were responsible for more then 20 bank robberies, car jacking and home invasions in the six months prior to the TD heist.
- One of the Van Bandits, Dennis Junior James, 20, of Brampton participated in Dec.22, 1999, robbery at a Mississauga bank of Nova Scotia branch. He was sentenced to 4 years in jail. One customer heard a robber there counting down “3-2-1” just like the TD costumer heard moments before Kidd was shot. The women with a shotgun pointed at her head in the Soctiabank opened the safe before the countdown ended.
- Rowe’s girlfriend, Natasha Thomas, 21, of Kitchener, was sentenced to six months house arrest for obstructing police in connection with the TD robbery. She allowed Rowe and Campbell to stay with her after the robbery, accepted $900 of the bank money and a .32 calibre bullet as a souvenir.
Campbell‘s lawyer, Gary Batasar, said his client accepted the second degree conviction as “the best deal” he could get.
“He was facing 25 years in jail,” Batasar said. “From spending life in jail to eight years is an excellent result.”
According to evidence, Rowe, Campbell, Dwain Lawes and a forth man only known as Brownman entered the TD bank just after noon on January 11, 1999, and held 17 employees and customers hostage for 5 ¬¨Œ© minutes, beating and pistol whipping some as they tried to get employees to open the vault’s safe.
Assistant crown attorney Stephen Sherriff said Kiss was shot “as a show of force” and the robbery continued for another two minutes while she bled to death.
Lawes and Brownman are now in Jamaica, according to authorities.
The publication ban on Campbell’s case was needed because he refused to testify against Rowe and his agreed statement of facts would have been prejudicial against his trial. Batasar and co- counsel Peter Zaduk said Campbell fears for his life, not only in jail but in Jamaica if he gets deported there after serving his sentence.
“Mr. Campbell got a life sentence, not a death sentence, but it could very well have been a death sentence had he been ordered to testify against Rowe,” Zaduk said.
In his statement, read in court before Rowe’s trial, Campbell admitted the robbers were prepared to shoot or beat employees if they didn’t open the vault. Campbell went in with a loaded shotgun and two others had loaded handguns.
Campbell admitted that when the sates were opened and found to be empty, Lawes said, “they don’t think we mean business. You’d better hurry up of your friend (Kidd) out there is going to get it.”
Shortly afterwards, Kidd was shot and Campbell said Rowe yelled to Lawes inside the vault. “Tell them I just shot their friend (Kidd) out here.” He said Lawes then yelled at women in the vault. “We’ve shot your friend out there and you’d better hurry up or you’ll be next.”
Campbell admitted pistol whipping two female employees- Connie Lowry and Joanna Wiley- inside the vault before Kidd was shot. He dragged teller Sandy Chai into the vault, stepping over the dying Kidd, saying Chau could be the next person shot if they didn’t get money.
Chau opened a safety deposit box containing $20,000 and the robbers soon fled from the bank, shouting and celebrating.
“My heart wanted him (Campbell) to get 25 years or forever,” said Kidd’s sister- in law, Marlene Pineau. “It makes me angry that he’ll be 28 when he gets out.”
Sheriff said changes made by the Supreme Court in 1990 made it difficult to convict Campbell of first- degree murder because the crown would have to prove that even though he didn’t fire the gun, Campbell shared Rowe’s intention to kill.
Sheriff said the crown’s case against Campbell was circumstantial because of the poor quality of the bank’s surveillance cameras.
Campbell had also been charged, along with Lawes and others, with two Florida bank robberies in Fort Lauderdale and Tamarac in Broward Countu, Fla., on October 21 and November 2, 1998, prior to fleeing to Canada.