Argument ends in shooting: prosecution demands 4 years

POSTED: 01/18/13 2:10 PM

St. Maarten – Siegerd Basilio L. is facing 4 years of imprisonment for attempted manslaughter on a man on October 10 of last year. The court will rule on the case on February 6.
The defendant got into an argument with a man who came to visit his girlfriend in a house adjacent to that of the defendant. Things got out of hand and L. fired a shot at his adversary that hit him in the groin. The defendant told the court that he thought the victim was coming towards him with a weapon in his hand.
“You fired a shot, that has been established,” prosecutor Dounia Benammar said in the Court in First Instance on Wednesday. “You hit him in a nasty spot. The police euphemistically called it the underbelly, but it is a spot where all large arteries come together. The chances of hitting an artery are considerable and it could result in death.”
While this did not happen, the victim is still walking around with the bullet in his body because it is not possible to remove it surgically from the place where it is embedded. The prosecutor wondered whether L. had had the intention to kill the man. “If you fire a shot from a short distance at someone’s body you run the risk of killing him. Premeditation does not necessarily require a lot of time. It is a difficult decision. The defendant has an argument and he goes into his house. If he had stayed away from the window it had been over. But he grabs a weapon, so there was a time lapse to the moment he started shooting. Legally it is possible to conclude that this is a case of premeditation. On the other hand, the defendant did not go after his victim to shoot at him., and added that the argument of self-defense does not hold water. “
This is where the prosecutor found the difference between attempted murder and attempted manslaughter. She opted for the second charge. “He grabbed the weapon while there were moments when he could have gotten away from the situation. Instead, he checks whether there are bullets in the gun. He is not taking any chances and starts shooting preventively.”
The prosecutor acknowledged the defendant’s medical condition but pointed out that he is fit for detention. mr. Benammar said that the case illustrates why it is important to get guns off the streets. “The more weapons there are, the more often these things will happen,. I thought he was going to do something to me, so I started shooting.”

L.’s attorney Janna Westra contested that there is legal and convincing proof to sentence her client. “He felt threatened and he pulled the gun in a panic. He saw no possibility to flee and he had no intention to kill. My client also says that he fired in the direction of his victim’s feet.”

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