King-murderer faces life sentence – Prosecution demands 28 and 24 years against co-defendants

POSTED: 04/10/13 11:54 AM

Michael Kings mother and relative enter courthouse

Michael King’s mother and relative enter courthouse

St. Maarten – The prosecution demanded life imprisonment against Meyshane Kemar J. yesterday for the murder of Thelma and Michael King on September 19 of last year and for an armed robbery on the Happy Star Chinese restaurant on the same day.

Co-defendant Jeremiah Chevon M., who is just 18, is looking at 28 years behind bars, while the prosecution demanded 24 years against a third suspect, 21-year-old Jamal Jeferson W.

Today the attorneys for the three suspects present their pleas. The ruling is expected around May 1.

The courthouse was filled to capacity yesterday morning with family and friends of the murdered couple; two American journalists attended the trial. Though police officers searched everyone before entering the court room, the defendants were brought in under standard security rules – so no arrest team officers with balaclavas and guns.

Jeremiah Chevon M. claimed that he found approximately one kilo of compressed marijuana in a safe at the house of murder victims Thelma and Michael King and that he sold it a few days after the fatal robbery at the Ocean Club. When Judge Tijhuis told the barely 18-year-old defendant that a technical scan of the safe had not shown any traces of drugs in the safe, he muttered that the forensic department “should do a better job.” The prosecution dismissed M.’s claim as not credible.

The alleged drugs supply in the bedroom safe was a seemingly minor detail in an otherwise grizzly story of three thugs who claimed to have no money to buy food, robbed the Chinese Happy Star restaurant, robbed and killed Michael and Thelma King and then went to the Casablanca whorehouse in Oyster Pond twice to spend their criminal proceeds on prostitutes and alcohol.

The main suspect, 29-year-old Meyshane Kemar J. maintained throughout the trial that he did not remember “the event” as he called the murders. Quizzed by prosecutor Dounia Benammar whether he suffered more often from such memory loss, J. answered in the affirmative and attributed it to his excessive alcohol consumption. “You started drinking when you were twelve and you are quite a drinker,” prosecutor Benammar said. “You hold your liquor well.”

The three defendants allegedly robbed the Happy Star restaurant on September 19 around 7.50 p.m. “I don’t even know where Happy Star is,” Jeremiah M. claimed, but that did not tally with statements by Meyshane J. that he had picked him up earlier in the day.

Earlier that afternoon, a car Meyshane J. had borrowed from a man called Hunt was seen near the Ocean Club in Cupecoy.

Jeremiah M. wanted the court to believe that he never talked with the others about robbing the Chinese restaurant, but Jamal W. conceded that there had been a plan. When the men finally approached the restaurant in the evening, Jeremiah M. pulled a Halloween mask over his face and entered the place together with Jamal W. while Meyshane J. waited in a side street in the getaway car. W. put a gun to the head of a client, while M. grabbed cash and money from a box with phone cards.

When the robbers fled the restaurant a police patrol happened to pass by. Shots were fired and the getaway car was hit by one bullet but the three suspects escaped. A couple of hours later the evening would take a dramatic and deadly turn when they entered the villa of Michael and Thelma King in Cupecoy.

But before they went there Jeremiah M. did something weird: he entered the Atlantis Casino where he wanted to gamble with some of the money from the restaurant-robbery. Since he was 17 at the time, he was legally not allowed to enter the casino, but nobody made a fuss.

The robbers parked their car on an empty lot opposite the Blue Mall next to the Ocean Club. Meyshane J. claimed that they saw light in one of the villas and that they decided to burglarize the place. The entered the property via the beach.

When the robbers climbed onto the balcony of the villa close to eleven o’clock, Michael King had fallen asleep on a sofa in front of the TV, while his wife was sleeping in the upstairs bedroom. Initially King did not wake up, and the robbers gathered goods they intended to take away, like a laptop and an iPhone.

Then, Johnson picked up a knife from the kitchen counter. The others, both armed with guns, joined him and they woke up their victim. Under threat of the weapons King was forced to reveal the location of his safe in the upstairs bedroom. J. kept King in a chokehold while the others went upstairs, woke up Thelma King and forced her to open the safe.

Afterwards they brought the frightened woman downstairs where they blindfolded and gagged her and tied her to a chair.

At that point in the proceedings, Judge Tamara Tijhuis asked the defendants:”Why did you not leave? You had two knives and a gun, you stole what you wanted.”

“I wanted to leave,” suspect W. said.

Jeremiah M. had a less logical explanation: “I did not want to get back to jail, that’s why I tied up Mrs. King so that she would not be able to alert security.”
Nervous as the robbers may have been, Jeremiah M. found time to grab a drink. “I was high and I wanted more alcohol,” he said.

Video footage shows that twelve minutes after the men entered the villa the lights went out. It took then another seven minutes before they actually left. There is no explanation for what happened in the meantime.

“Why did you slit Mr. King’s throat?” Judge Tijhuis asked point blank of Meyshane J. the defendant claimed that King made “a sudden movement” when he saw his wife come down and that it happened accidentally. That claim is inconsistent with the injuries King sustained.

Afterwards J. stabbed King so violently in his back that the point of the blade broke – and Jeremiah M. gave him a second knife.

Judge Tijhuis referred to photos in the file that she declined to show due to their graphic nature, though the defendants have seen them. “They are gruesome wounds and you did that,” the judge told Meyshane J.

“I don’t see myself that way,” he responded. “I ask myself: did I really do that? If I’d be conscious of what I was doing I would not be in court now.”

J. told police that he had killed Thelma King with the second knife. “I killed her because I had killed her husband and I knew this would cause her a lot of grief,” he said in one statement. But yesterday, the defendant claimed to remember absolutely nothing.

Jeremiah M. and Jamal W. both claimed that they had already left the villa when J. killed the couple. In the view of the prosecution, that does not exonerate them from the murders. In the end, the prosecution considered proven that Meyshane J. killed the Kings, and that the two other defendants are accessories to these murders. All three are also considered guilty of the robbery at the Happy Star restaurant, of armed robbery on the Kings, of robbing Thelma King of her freedom and of laundering the proceeds of their crimes.

While the men claimed to investigators they had committed their crimes because they needed money for their basic needs, the first thing they did after the murder was to pay a visit to the whorehouse Casablanca in Oyster pond where they spent money on prostitutes not once but twice.

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Comments (3)


  1. Jtmize says:

    Public hangings,would stop the craziness.As long as theses people get away with murder ,it will just keep happening . People will not come there and send their hard yearned money to be raped,murdered, or mugged. Looks like st Martin is a place of the past. Sorry great island your government does care.

  2. bill jones says:

    your island is a real garbage can where people get killed, raped,mugged! I know well, I lived there twenty years ago. low lands, nothing have changed.Your Island is the worst in the carib.

  3. biil says:

    no more vaction in st maarten murders, rape and mugging every single day!