Rennie Cassimy sentenced for role in OOB murder
Rennie Michael Cassimy will serve eight years in prison for his role in the 2008 murder of Winston George in Old Orchard Beach.
Cassimy was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but eight suspended during a sentencing hearing June 30 at York County Superior Court. Cassimy, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, likely will be deported following his sentence.
Cassimy, formerly of Brooklyn, N.Y., testified last month during the murder trial of Darlene George and Jeffrey Williams. All three were involved in the June 20, 2008, murder of Winston George in the basement of his Old Orchard Beach home.
Darlene George, who was married to Winston George, and Williams, her brother, were convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder during a two-week trial in June. Cassimy, who said he was Darlene George’s lover for more than a decade, was a key witness for the state. Cassimy said the trio agreed to stage a home invasion and Williams strangled and suffocated Winston George.
A murder charge against Cassimy was dropped in exchange for his testimony, which detailed the murder of Winston George. Cassimy testified he, Williams and Darlene George planned and carried out the murder because Darlene George did not want to lose property in a divorce. Both Darlene and Winston George were having affairs and prosecutors said he wanted a divorce.
During the sentencing hearing, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese told Justice G. Arthur Brennan that Cassimy had completed the terms of his plea agreement.
Cliff Strike, Cassimy’s defense attorney, agreed his client testified “honestly and truthfully.” He asked Cassimy be transferred to a prison facility in Machias because Williams will be incarcerated at the Maine State Prison in Warren.
Cassimy, dressed in an orange shirt and pants, spoke softly but clearly as he addressed the court. He said he was being truthful about the situation and asked Brennan to give him a lighter sentence because he is “truly sorry” and sick with HIV.
“Yes I was there when Mr. George lost his life,” he said. “I had no right to be there and I’m sorry.”
Turning to family members sitting behind him in the courtroom, Cassimy said as the oldest brother to move to the Unites States, he had let down his family with his actions. He asked his brothers and sisters to forgive him. His family declined to comment following the hearing.
Brennan, who presided over the jury trial of Williams and Darlene George, said he didn’t think Cassimy “fully appreciates the degree of responsibility you have for the death of Winston George.”
“If the question was put to me on the evidence I heard (at trial) I would find you guilty of murder,” he said. “You need to reflect on that.”
Following the hearing, Strike said Cassimy is one of the “nicest, most straight-forward” clients he has had and would not have predicted Cassimy would find himself involved in a murder.
“I think he just felt obligated because of all (Darlene George) had done for him,” Strike said, adding Cassimy is “absolutely remorseful.”
Strike said he expects Cassimy to be out of prison in about four and a half years because of time already served and credit he can earn for good behavior.
Marchese said she is “not particularly thrilled” with Cassimy’s sentence.
“The state recognized he wasn’t the principal in this and it was of some assistance he testified,” she said. “From the beginning it was clear to us he was the least culpable of the three.”
Marchese said Cassimy is the only one of the three defendants to accept responsibility for the murder. She said the sentence is consistent with Brennan’s comments about the seriousness of Cassimy’s involvement.
Marchese said Darlene George and Williams likely will be sentenced in August.