Attempt to spring King-killer from prison fails in court – Murder-suspect remains where he is: behind bars

POSTED: 02/21/13 9:10 AM

St. Maarten – Meyshane J. – one of the three suspects in the brutal killing of Thelma and Michael King on September 21 of last year – remains behind bars. Yesterday the Common Court of Justice rejected a request by J.’s attorney Brenda Brooks to immediately release her client. The attorney used procedural mistakes by the prosecutor’s office as the basis for her request.

The attempt to spring the murder-suspect from prison started after the prosecutor’s office was too late with serving him a summons to appear in court on January 10. The law prescribes that a summons has to be served at least 7 days before the scheduled court appearance. J. refused to waive his rights to that term, and the court had no other option than to declare the summons void. The prosecutor’s office then served the defendant another summons to appear in court in January 17.

Attorney Brooks appealed the decision by the Court in First Instance to declare the first summons void for the sole purpose of getting her client – who has confessed to the murder to investigators – out of prison.

When judges in the appeals court asked J. why he had appealed this decision during a hearing on January 30, he did not know what to say. Only after some effort he managed to bring out that his rights had been violated.

The appeals court ruled that after the court declares a summons void the preventive custody is allowed to continue for at most three weeks. “Apparently the Court in First Instance ruled that way on January 10,” the ruling states. “The defendant did not request the termination of his preventive custody at that time.”

The appeals court furthermore notes that J.’s trial started with a hearing on January 17. From that moment on, his preventive custody continues, the ruling states.

Attorney Brooks argued during the hearing on January 30 that the prosecution ought to be declared inadmissible in its prosecution of her client because there was no irrevocable decision about the grounds to declare the first summons void when the second summons was issued. The appeals court ruled that this matter falls outside the scope of the appeal.

On Tuesday the Court in First Instance ordered a reconstruction of the crime at the villa of the Kings at the Ocean Club in Cupecoy. This will take place in a bit more than two weeks from now, on Friday March 8 in a closed setting.

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