Couple still together, but man faces 5 years for attempted manslaughter

POSTED: 04/14/11 11:45 AM

St. Maarten – A domestic dispute that ended with gun shots on November 14 of last year on Arch Road seemed to get a happy ending when it turned out in court yesterday that the alleged shooter, John H. and his wife Janet are still together. But prosecutor mr. J.C.G. van der Wulp demanded 5 years against the angry husband for attempted manslaughter. Judge mr. M. Keppels will pronounce her verdict on April 19.

H. said in court yesterday that there had been “a misunderstanding,” but in the course of the trial more tantalizing details emerged. The couple lives in a home behind the Crystal Club on Arch road. A neighboring house that belongs to the defendant is rented to a woman who works as a prostitute from this home.

“A lot of men come and go from that house,” the defendant explained to the court. When he came back home that night and found that his wife Janet was at her neighbor’s house, he wanted her to come home, and he had knocked on the window. When his wife refused, H. went away, to come back at around four o’clock in the morning, apparently drunk.

That’s when his wife and the neighbor claim that he fired shots at a bedroom window.  The defendant admitted that he had been angry, but that his wife was jealous and that she had cooked up the story about the shooting together with the neighbor.

A forensic investigation showed that there was no gunshot residue on the hands of the defendant, and a weapon was never found, though there were two cartridges at the scene, and the shutters of the bedroom window had bullet holes. In the defendant’s home officers also found live ammunition, but no weapon.

Prosecutor Van der Wulp took these facts into account, but also pointed out that the defendant’s wife and the neighbor put him at the place of the shooting, ands that they did not state there were others near the house, as the defendant claimed. The prosecutor also doubted that the women had conspired to cook up a story, and concluded that H. must have fired shots at the house.

“He knew where his wife was when he fired the shots,” she said. “He is very aggressive and he did not just shoot out of frustration. It is a miracle that he did not hit his wife.” She concluded that there is enough proof for attempted manslaughter.

Defense attorney mr. G. Hatzmann referred to the technical evidence that points to his client’s innocence. “That environment is not exactly a place where you let your children play outside. Stanley Gumbs was shot to death there.”

Hatzmann added that it is unclear whether the woman was really in the room where the shots were fired at, and pointed out that the wife reported the shooting but that she later on did not want her husband prosecuted. Hatzmann said that there is insufficient evidence for a conviction and asked the court to acquit his client.


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