Gun possession case linked to Vesuvius-investigation

POSTED: 04/19/12 12:45 PM

St. Maarten – Prosecutor mr. Bart den Hartigh demanded a 12-month prison sentence against Franklin Luciana A. for firearm possession yesterday afternoon. Judge mr. Monique Keppels will pronounce her verdict in this case on Wednesday May 9.
The facts of the case are simple, at least according to the prosecution. On January 19 the office received a report from the Criminal Intelligence Department that quoted an anonymous source alleging that A. was in the possession of a firearm. Five days later he was detained and his house was searched. Officers found a .45 caliber handgun as well as a bulletproof vest.
The defendant has a 9-year prison sentence to his name, among others for firearm possession, and he told the court that he had been shot in his leg a bit more than a year ago. He kept the gun at home for protection, he said.
Prosecutor den Hartigh said that the defendant could have tried to obtain a gun license, but that he had not done this. “The standard sentence is 1 year and for repeat-offenders it is higher.” In spite of this, the prosecutor stuck to the standard demand of 12 months imprisonment.
Attorney mr. Brenda Brooks asked the court to exclude the evidence obtained in the house search and to acquit her client. She said that the search was unlawful because the information in the CID-report contained insufficient specific information to label a. as a suspect.
She also objected to an order to take DNA-samples from her client. “That was not for the firearm possession, because he had already confessed it was his gun. This was to compare his DNA-profile with evidence in the Vesuvius-investigation. An officer of the RST declared that Ash’s DNA-profile was found on a cigarette in the possible getaway car that was used in the Miguel Arrindell murder.”
Prosecutor den Hartigh said that the defendant’s name came up several times in the Vesuvius-investigation, but that there was no reason to hold him as a suspect. “It is a misunderstanding to think that DNA-testing is not allowed once a suspect has confessed to firearm possession. In the Vesuvius-case .45 caliber guns have been used and this defendant had such a weapon. Therefore he has also been detained and interrogated for involvement with murder. But that is not on the agenda today.”

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