Devon Otto’s appeal postponed until May

POSTED: 03/6/13 11:44 AM

St. Maarten – The appeal of Devon Otto against his conviction to 9 years for a shooting in the prison in Curacao was postponed yesterday until May 16 because the defense wants to see the results of DNA-tests by the Dutch Forensic Institute NFI.
Otto’s attorney Shaira Bommel told this newspaper that initially it appeared that there would not be any DNA-reports, but now it has become clear that the NFI will deliver the results within the next six weeks.

Otto is serving a 30-year sentence for the March 31, 2008 murder of census office employee Stanley Gumbs, an attempt on the life of Louis A. Richardson, aka Sticky on March 21, 2008 and robbing three American tourists on March 26 of that year.

After his incarceration at the Pointe Blanche prison, Otto became unruly to the point that the prison management moved him to what was then called euphemistically the Bon Futuro prison in Curacao. These days the prison in Willemstad goes by the name of Sentro di Detenshon i Korekshon.

On September 13, 2011, Otto shot fellow inmate Lysandro Alvin Kani, hitting him in his left eye, neck, chest and arm; another shot hit an artery in the right upper leg of another inmate, Steven Ansel Servanie.

Court documents show that Kani and Servanie came from the prison gym when they encountered Otto.

Leonard de Jesus, who worked as a guard at the time of the shooting told investigators that he knows Otto by his nickname Rasta, and that the defendant was standing with his back against the wall shortly before the shooting. “He made the form of a pistol with his left hand. In the meantime a group of inmates approached from the gym.” De Jesus then saw that Otto started running and shooting.

Another witness, inmate Rudley Quirindongo, said that Otto threw the gun away after the shooting and shouted: “They are shooting, they are shooting.”

Thierry Kani also witnessed his father’s shooting. He is currently serving seven years for a brutal machine gun attack on Giancarlo Lake in Curacao. Lysandro Kani was released from prison after the shooting and he has since disappeared without a trace.

The court sentenced Otto in June of last year for attempted murder on Lysandro Kani, for attempted manslaughter on the random victim Steven Servanie, and for firearm possession. Otto,  had somehow got his hands on a Smith&Wesson .38 caliber handgun for the shooting. He was reportedly paid (or promised payment) to kill Lysandro Kani by members of a rivaling drugs gang in the Koraal Specht district in Curacao.

Justice Minister Roland Duncan has indicated on several occasions that he wants to relocate Otto to a prison in the Netherlands, saying: “Everybody is afraid of him.”

But Otto’s attorney Shaira Bommel contests this. ”Everybody is saying that everybody is afraid of him, but he is not causing any trouble at all in the prison. There is an instruction from the prison management not to let him out of his cell together with other inmates, but one day the guards ignored this and let him out with others all the same,. Then a fight started. In my opinion, this has been done on purpose.”

Otto was not present at the court hearing yesterday. “I knew already on Monday that the appeal would be postponed, so he gave up his right to attend.”

The attorney said that her client has relatives living on the French side of the island who visit him on occasion. “If he is transferred to the Netherlands they will not be able to do this anymore. So if there is going to be an attempt to transfer him to a prison in the Netherlands, I will appeal that decision.”

Otto is already serving the maximum temporary prison sentence of 30 years. When he was sentenced to another 9 years later year, the question arose whether this would hold up. Prosecutor Manon Ridderbeks told this newspaper at the time that the 9-year sentence fits within the maximum term if Otto gets a conditional release from his 30-year sentence. If he doesn’t, the prosecutor’s office will demand that the new sentence be executed consecutively, meaning that Otto could spend another 6 to 9 years behind bars after completing his 30-year sentence.

 

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