Attorney Hatzmann downplays role Charles F. in Tan Tan shooting

POSTED: 10/23/12 2:55 PM

St. Maarten – “Nothing shows that my client was involved in criminal activities,” attorney mr. Geert Hatzmann said yesterday morning in defense of his client Charles F. who is accused of membership of a criminal organization and involvement in a shooting on April 20 of last year at the former Tan Tan supermarket in Dutch Quarter. That shooting was retaliation for the murder of Amador Jones four days earlier and sparked the opening of the large-scale Vesuvius-investigation.

Last week the prosecution demanded 8 years imprisonment against F.
Charles F. is accused of being involved in the active search for Amador Jones’ killer – Omax Bye. The prosecution claimed last week that the alleged gang leader Omar J. – brother of the murder victim – and his hit man Carlos R. did the actual shooting at the Tan Tan supermarket, whereby Kennedy Fergus, who was in Bye’s company, sustained a shot-wound to his leg. Bye escaped with his life because he was wearing a bullet proof vest and because Omar J.’s machine gun malfunctioned.
“My client had no intent to kill Kennedy Fergus, so I ask the court to acquit him of that charge,” mr. Hatzmann said. “The case with Omax Bye is different, but my client did not shoot at him and he was not in the car of the shooter either. We should not over-estimate my client’s role.”
The attorney said that co-defendant Erno L. received a ping-message that Omax Bye had been the shooter in the Amador Jones-killing. “He informed Omar J. and Omar wanted to take revenge for his brother’s death personally. The question was not if, but when shots would be fired at Omax Bye.”

mr. Hatzmann conceded that his client had had a firearm belonging to Erno L. in his possession but that he had returned the weapon to him.”It is what it is, but it pales compared to the arsenal police found with Omar J. and Andrew D. they had machineguns and hand grenades.”
The 37-year-old defendant is also accused of membership of the criminal organization allegedly led by Omar J. “as there a criminal organization and was my client a member of it?” mr. Hatzmann wondered. “The group of Omar J. was involved with drugs. Omar wanted to be the most notorious drug dealer in St. Maarten. He wanted to be the Klaas Bruinsma, the Pablo Escobar, the capo di tutti capi. He was called the king of kings, and they even called him God. In that environment the rule of the jungle prevailed.”
mr. Hatzmann described Omar J. as the gang leader, Carlos R. as his cocaine-addicted hit man, Andrew D. as his confidante (“the only one apart from Omar J. with some intelligence”), Ekron M. as his captain for the execution of drugs transports and Doniel Th. as the man who stole cars the organization used for its criminal activities.

mr. Hatzmann said that he agrees with the public prosecutor that there was structural cooperation between these gang members. “The investigators have painted a clear picture, but I do not share the opinion that my client took part in this criminal organization.”
One of the things the prosecution holds against Charles F. is that he has a C.I.D. tattoo, something he shares with among others Omar J. and Erno L. That does not prove membership of an organization, mr. Hatzmann said: “My client had this tattoo long before the criminal organization of Omar J. came about and the majority of the gang members do not have it.”
Charles F. acknowledges that he went out on occasion with people from Omar J.’s entourage. “But shortly after the murder of Amador Jones he was with Brian Ch. in Casablanca,” mr. Hatzmann pointed out, adding that Ch. is seen as one of men who, at the request of Hector Miguel Arrindell, orchestrated the Jones-murder. The attorney said that he would not contradict the prosecution as far as F.’s involvement in the Tan Tan-case is concerned.
“However, he played a marginal role and that is important for the eventual punishment. He also cooperated with the investigation while all other defendants kept their mouths shut and on occasion displayed a misguided and arrogant attitude. Carlos R. has threatened my client, and he has filed a complaint about this. He has also spent a considerable amount of time in a police cell and for this he is entitled to a substantial sentence reduction.”
The prosecution will respond to the defense arguments on Thursday morning.

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