Armed robber gets lighter sentence on appeal

POSTED: 05/10/11 12:43 PM

St. Maarten – The Appeals Court sentenced 26-year-old Nashon Elwin Francis to an 11-year prison sentence last week for three armed robberies he committed in 2008 and for one robbery-attempt. Though the court considered that Francis was still under probation after an earlier conviction to 6 years (with 2.5 years suspended) for similar crimes, it handed down a lighter sentence after acquitting the defendant of a robbery at Talk Cell on June 27, 2008, and a robbery at Gold Star Jewelry on April 10 of last year. The Court in First Instance sentenced Francis last year in October to 12 years and 10 months. The solicitor general demanded 13 years on appeal.

In November, Francis famously refused to come to court for his sentencing in First Instance because, according to the now departed prosecutor Mr. R. Mud, “he could not find his red shirt.” That did not save Francis from a 12 years and 10 months prison sentence. Later he was involved in a legal battle over his place of detention. After several incidents at the Pointe Blanche prison, director Rudsel Ricardo sent him to the Bon Futuro prison in Curacao. Later a court ruled that Francis had the right to be detained in Pointe Blanche again.

The Appeals Court – Judges Mrs. J.P. de Haan, J.R. Sijmonsma and E.M. van der Bunt – ruled that Francis was guilty of three armed robberies at stores and one attempt. “Every time he used a firearm to threaten cashiers to force them to open their cash register,” the court ruled. “These facts create feelings of unsafety among the direct victims, but also in the community.”

The court took the crimes serious, especially because Francis was still under probation for an earlier robbery-sentence.

The robberies he was convicted of took place at the Best West supermarket (on November 26, 2008), the Texaco gas station on Bush Road (on December 11, 2008, and Cake House (on December 13, 2008). On that last day, he also attempted to rob the Li and Lee supermarket on Illidge Road, but that plot failed.

The court also found Francis guilty of threatening his ex-girlfriend on March 26, 2010 with a gun and a knife in the presence of their little child. In 2008, on June 17, he put his gun to the head of another woman and threatened her verbally.

The court considered that Francis spent eleven weeks too long in a police cell and gave him a 1-year sentence reduction for it on the 12-year sentence the judges had in mind.

Francis will get back three gold rings and $853. The loot from the three robberies for which he was convicted was a bit more than $1,400 in cash and $200 worth of phone cards.


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