Argument over stolen bike turned ugly – Man faces 60 months for five year old shooting

POSTED: 10/25/12 12:10 PM

St. Maarten – That old sins have long shadows became clear once more when Samuel Rony B. stood trial yesterday for a shooting that occurred more than five years ago, on August 24 2007. Prosecutor Dounia Benammar demands 60 months imprisonment and 2 years of probation against the now 24-year-old defendant. Of the demand, 20 months are conditional. Judge Tamara Tijhuis will pronounce her verdict on November 14.

In 2007, the then 17-year-old defendant had an argument with Eddie Frias over a stolen bike. During the argument B. allegedly pulled a gun and shot at his adversary’s car. While the prosecutor concluded that the defendant is guilty of attempted manslaughter, B. claimed that he was shot at first and that he had only fired two shots with an air gun at the car. He also claimed that he was hit by a bullet in his calf.
mr. Benammar said it was odd that the defendant had taken his friend Mathilda, nicknamed Soldier, to school before seeking medical assistance.
What seems to be certain, it appeared during an earlier court hearing on August 9, is that the defendant was in his car that day together with Mathilda who is currently serving a 68-month prison sentence for several robberies dating back to October 2010. He was sentenced on April 6 of last year; the court acquitted him of membership of a criminal organization, though he was in cahoots with among others Omar Nelson, aka Chucky, and Stevie Richardson who were involved in the kidnapping an manslaughter on Wouter Jan Romeijn in October 2010. Nelson is currently serving a combined prison sentence of 25 years; Richardson is serving 22 years and 10 months.

What exactly happened that day five years ago did not become much clearer yesterday either. Prosecutor Benammar noted that the defendant grabbed a gun during the argument and shot at Frias’ car, but that it remains unclear how B. got his shot wound.
The defendant got injured during his arrest on April 15; he sustained a head wound and has memory problems since that day.
“It is unacceptable that a conflict over a helmet and a bike is settled with a firearm,” mr. Benammar said, “People go for guns far too easy.”
B.’s attorney mr. Shaira Bommel told the court that Frias had shot at her client first and that he had acted out of self defense, “He shot back with a pellet gun to prevent Frias from firing more shots at him. My client told him that he did not want any problems. He just wanted his bike back. Everybody had seen that Frias had that bike.”
The prosecutor however, maintained that it has not been established that Frias had a gun that day and that the defendant sought the confrontation.

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