In the last few weeks the Court of First Instance handled several cases that were pending due to closures because of COVID-19. These cases included armed robberies and shootings. The Public Prosecutor’s Office Sint Maarten hereby presents an overview of some of the cases which had a major impact on the community.
Life sentence for contract killer
The Court of First Instance sentenced S.A.T.P. (29) to life imprisonment, on October 29th, 2020, for the murders of I. Brumant and T. Bass in 2019, and of J. Williams in 2018.
F.A.R. (29) was sentenced to 8 years in prison for his role as the getaway driver in one of the murders. P. and R. were also both found guilty of attempting to murder a man in the parking lot of Abu Ghazi Shwarma in Madame Estate on January 5th, 2020.
18 years imprisonment for 2016 robbery murder
After four years the main suspect in the investigation “Cactus”, A.C.L., was sentenced on October 28th, 2020 to 18 years imprisonment for the murder of Pedro Nel Sanchez Triana also known as “Pepe”.
L. together with an accomplice, had first robbed the victim of his money and possessions and then violently took his life by stabbing him 14 times. P.N.S.T.’s lifeless body was found on the Arlett Peters Road (Old Cake House Road) on July 1st, 2016.
The night prior to discovering the victim’s body, his car had been set on fire in the vicinity of Oyster Pond. Two days after the murder L. and his accomplice disappeared from the island. In August 2016, U.S. authorities arrested L. in Puerto Rico for another crime. Following an extradition procedure L. was returned to Sint Maarten at the end of 2019.
The suspected co-perpetrator is believed to be deceased and therefore could not be tried. L. has meanwhile lodged an appeal against this verdict.
18 years prison time for murder on the block
L.V.R. (29) was sentenced to 18 years in prison, as the main suspect in the investigation Almond, where Canicio Warno (38) was shot dead on “the block” in Dutch Quarter on October 12th, 2019. R. shot Warno in the head outside of the Marina Bar, for reasons still unknown. ❖ 15 years prison time for murder of DJ Geovany Vichi Machado The Court of First Instance, on October 21st, 2020, sentenced J.M.H. (29), main suspect in the investigation “Lamantijn”, to 15 years imprisonment for the murder of DJ Geovany Vichi Machado (47).
Following a performance at Little Bamboo on the night of March 25th, 2019, Machado had come into contact with H. and another individual. Those individuals drove with Machado in his vehicle, robbed him and H. shot him dead on Brasilia Road. The investigation was a lengthy one, however DNA found in Machado’s vehicle and camera footage resulted in a breakthrough.
9 years prison time for shooter of good samaritan
The main suspect, ‘Chevalier’, in the investigation “Bittervoorn”, was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment for firing shots at a good Samaritan attempting to defend a Canadian couple from being robbed in Maho in February this year.
Supported by camera surveillance, ‘Chevalier’ is accused of shooting the victim V.M.S.S. in his leg and abdomen. ‘Chevalier’ confessed to the robbery and possession of a weapon, but denies attempting manslaughter. Co-conspirator, ‘Eights’, who did not deny being the getaway driver, was sentenced to 6 months conditional prison time, 3 years’ probation and 180 hours of community service. Although ‘Eights’ denied having knowledge of the robbery beforehand, the Public Prosecution found this proven by statements made by a third person. As well camera surveillance shows ‘Eights’ waiting in the getaway vehicle with the engine running and it shows him opening the passenger door as ‘Chevalier’ ran towards the vehicle.
3 years prison time for drive by shooter
The Public Prosecution asked 14 years imprisonment for I.J. who was accused of firing shots from a moving vehicle on Modesta Road, Simpson Bay in mid-June this year. However the Court sentenced him to 3 years imprisonment. In this investigation deemed “Saggiatarius”, 18 shots were fired off into a yard on Modesta Road. A witness had effortlessly identified the suspect, leading to a speedy arrest. J. claims to have drove by and fired the shots after learning of an attempted murder of a close friend. J. was still in a conditional release from a 10 year prison sentence at the time of the incident.
Interim verdict for minor who shot teen
In the investigation Leo, the Court, sentenced to J.B. (16) to a clinical juvenile institution for the deadly shooting of Jordiano Bakmeijer (19) on Pendant Cactus Road on March 9th, 2020. However the Court is examining which institution B. can be placed in since Sint Maarten does not have such an institution. Therefore an interim verdict was made by the judge. B. walked into the house of his cousin Bakmeijer and began firing shots. Anna Maria Samuel (22), who was also in the house was shot at and badly injured. As well Michael Pena (16) and Ishmael Morris (27), were shot at, but not injured. The lead up to the shootout appears to have stemmed from previous quarrels.
Prison time for human smuggling
J.A.P., the main suspect in the investigation “Eagle”, was sentenced to 38 months imprisonment on September 24th, 2020, for leading a human smuggling ring, which spun between October 2019 and February 2020. P. was convicted as the leader of the organization which transported undocumented individuals from Sint Maarten/Sint Martin to Tortola. He was found responsible for this incident of human smuggling, when a go-fast was discovered washed up on a reef, after encountering bad weather earlier this year. The group of individuals, which included a baby fortunately arrived unharmed. P. was arrested two weeks later, while organizing another transport. In addition to the prison sentence, P. was sentenced to pay US $29,350.00, as proceeds of his crimes.
Imprisonment and repayment of criminal proceeds in SZV fraud
D.J.W. was convicted of a large-scale employment and immigration fraud, where illegal Social and Health Insurance SZV cards were issued under a fake company. The judge ruled that W. has to repay Country Sint Maarten a total US $18,850.00 and NAf. 306,208.00 for the proceeds he accumulated. He was sentenced to 15 months prison time, where 10 months are conditional with 3 years’ probation. Failure to make payment will result in an additional 3 years prison time.
The Public Prosecution Service thanks the hard working team at KPSM for their untiring effort and dedication to solving these cases. As well the efforts of the Court must be noted considering the circumstances under which the judge and staff have been forced to adjust to in these trying times.