Troubled repeat-burglar faces 24-month sentencePOSTED: 08/9/12 12:33 PM
St. Maarten – Martino Alfredo H., a 33-year-old local with serious addiction and psychological problems, will hear on August 29 how much time he will still have to spend in the Pointe Blanche prison for a series of eight burglaries and attempted burglaries he committed between August 16 of last year and June 3 of this year. One of the burglaries took place on January 11 – the defendant’s birthday.
Prosecutor mr. Dounia Benammar demanded 24 months imprisonment with 2 years of probation. Of the demand, 8 months are conditional. The prosecutor also demands that the defendant pays $50 back he stole from the office of doctor Herle at the St. Maarten Medical Center on May 20, that he subjects himself to supervision by the Rehabilitation Bureau upon his release and that he seeks support from Turning Point or the Mental Health Foundation.
The talkative and at times confused defendant freely admitted to all charges. On May 20 he had entered the office of doctor Herle at the St. Maarten Medical Center, where he took away $50. When the doctor came to his office he was confronted with the defendant holding a knife in his hand. In court, H. denied that he had used the knife to threaten the doctor; the latter however, told police that the man was coming at him in a threatening way with the knife.
On the same day, the defendant burglarized the offices of Rai Insurances on the Welfare Road. Last year, on August 16, he attempted to break into Kentucky Fried Chicken, On September 30 his target was the Banque Europeenne / Credit Mutuel in Cole Bay. Then, on his birthday, January 11 of this year, he was caught crawling out of Union Caribe.
On March 1 he targeted KFC again and two days later he destroyed the shutters at the house of his cousin with a 2 by 4. The last charge is for an attempt to steal money from an ATM on June 3.
The defendant claimed that he was upset because the ATM had swallowed his credit card. However, video footage showed that he never inserted a card in the machine.
Prosecutor Benammar took into account that the defendant is schizophrenic and that he also has a drug addiction problem. “In spite of this he is accountable for what he did,” she concluded. “It is clear that this defendant needs help. I know that Turning Point has a problem dealing with clients with a double diagnosis. Before 10-10-10 we had Capriles in Curacao, but that option does not exist anymore.”
Defense attorney mr. Shaira Bommel did not waste any time on the facts, but focused instead on her client’s psychological and addiction problems. “The Mental Health Foundation does not take in clients with psychological problems if they also have an addiction, and Turning Point does not take in clients if they also have psychological problems,” she said. “We’ll have to look at the possibility of cooperation between Turning Point and the Mental Health Foundation, The chance that my client will commit other burglaries is simply significant. Committing him at one of these institutions is more fitting than a prison sentence.”
This was the first case for the new resident Judge mr. Tamara Tijhuis she had her hands full with attempts to make the defendant listen uninterrupted to her and to the public prosecutor, but in the end H, calmed down a little bit. Judge Tijhuis will pronounce her verdict on August 29.