Opinion: Have a nice dayPOSTED: 06/28/12 11:57 AM
Devon Otto got what was coming to him yesterday when the Court in First Instance sentenced him to 9 years imprisonment for a shooting in the prison in Curacao in September of last year. Otto seriously injured a member of the Kani drugs gang – Lysandro Kani – and inflicted also injuries on a second inmate, Steven Servanie.
How Otto got his hands on the .38 caliber Smith&Wesson in the prison is a question that is still waiting for an answer. Rumors are that he was set up by a rivaling drugs gang from the Koraal Specht district in Curacao to kill Lysandro Kani. The story does not say whether he really received any cash for his handiwork, but chances are that Otto never saw a penny. The same fate befell Omax Bye who killed Amador Jones on April 16 of last year in St. Maarten on a reported $20,000 contract from Miguel Arrindell who did not live long enough to make the payment in full.
Otto of course has nothing to lose: he is spending a 30-year sentence for killing Census Office employee Stanley Gumbs, for an attempt on the life of Louis Richardson, aka sticky and for robbing three American tourists.
Otto may have thought that the authorities are unable to touch him, no matter what he does, because he has to be very thick indeed not to realize that the 30 year sentence he has to his name represents the maximum temporary prison sentence in our judicial system.
And maybe Otto is still thinking that, because when his 9-year sentence was read in court yesterday morning he did not move a muscle.
But while there are legal opinions around that hold that it is not possible to simply add 9 years to the maximum temporary prison sentence, the prosecutor’s office begs to differ. The initial demand of ten years against Otto was most likely inspired by the thought that he is entitled to early release after serving two thirds of his 30 years. In that case a new 10-year sentence would fit perfectly within the limits of the law.
But early release is granted based on an inmate’s behavior during his detention, and it will be impossible for anyone to write a report saying that Otto was a model inmate. After all, he first caused so much trouble in Pointe Blanche that he had to be relocated to Curacao and once he got there, he shot Kani and Servanie. That’s one case of attempted murder and one case of attempted manslaughter.
Prosecutor Ridderbeks said yesterday that incase Otto does not get an early conditional release from his 30-year sentence, the 9-year sentence will be executed consecutively. That means that Otto, who is now 32 and who has about 27 years left to go, could be 59 by the time he has to start this latest sentence. If he behaves well, he could still get an early release from that sentence. Given the fact that he is an established repeat offender, he will probably have to serve four fifth of those 9 years and in that case he could be a free man by the time he is about 66.
But maybe Otto feels like appealing this verdict, since he has nothing better to do anyway. In that case, the Common Court of Justice could serve him a nasty surprise by handing down an even higher sentence. The bottom line is that Otto will be off the streets for decades to come, and he might even be taken off St. Maarten’s hands by the Netherlands, if Justice Minister Roland Duncan gets his way. Placement in a high security prison in the Netherlands seems the right place for a hardcore criminal like Otto, who is otherwise destined to create only more trouble in Pointe Blanche.
As Judge Rik Smid would say with a smirk on his face: have a nice day.