Court acquits and releases suspect Hope Estate murder

POSTED: 02/21/14 2:46 PM

St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice ordered the immediate release of Stevenson Pinder yesterday. The court acquitted the 40-year old defendant from the November 10, 2012 murder of Gaston Gumbs in Hope Estate and of firearm possession. The court found Pinder however guilty of setting the body of the murder victim on fire in Hope estate and sentenced him for this crime to 1-year imprisonment. Pinder spent that time already in jail. The court in first Instance had sentenced him in July of last year to 14 years. A second suspect, Sobiesky Parrondo escaped in June of last year from the police station and he has disappeared without a trace. Parrondo was also sentenced to 14 years.

The court ruled that there is evidence that Pinder picked up Gumbs on the evening of the murder and that he drove off with him and with Parrondo to the spot where Gumbs’ burned body was found later on. “But even if we assume this, the available evidence offers insufficient leads to be able to establish that, if the suspect was in the direct vicinity of Gumbs at the moment of the murder, he played such a role that it amounts to complicity to intentional murder.”

The court also acquitted Pinder of firearm possession. “From the fact that Gumbs was shot in the head twice can be concluded that there must have been a firearm, but it cannot be established with sufficient certainty that the defendant knew about the presence of the firearm.”

Pinder has in court always maintained his innocence. “You know I did not do this,” he said in July of last year upon leaving the courtroom.

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