King-murders appeal set for December 12

POSTED: 08/30/13 1:17 PM

Meyshane Johnson leaves courtSt. Maarten – The killers of Michael and Thelma King will appear on December 12 in the Common Court of Justice to appeal their verdicts. Before that date, main suspect Meyshane Johnson will undergo another psychiatric and psychological evaluation, the court ruled yesterday during a pro forma hearing.

In May, the Court in First Instance sentenced Meyshane Kemar Johnson to life imprisonment, 18-year-old Jeremiah Mills to 28 years and 21-year-old Jamal Jefferson Woolford to 22 years.

On September 19 of last year, the three convicts first robbed the Happy Star restaurant on Cannegieter Street where they escaped by the skin of their teeth after being shot at by police officers. A couple of hours later they entered the villa of Michael and Thelma King at the Ocean Club in Cupecoy. Johnson brutally murdered both Michael and Thelma King, while Mills reportedly stole $70,000 worth of jewelry from a bedroom safe. After the killings, Mills and Woolford spent some of the money they robbed at a whorehouse in Oyster Pond. For that act these two convicts were also sentenced for money laundering.

The court has reserved a complete day for the appeals hearing; it will begin at 8.30 a.m.

The renewed psychological and psychiatric evaluation of Johnson is done at the request of his attorney Brenda Brooks. She saw reason for the new examination based on her client’s attitude during the trial and based on questions she had about earlier reports.

A psychiatric report from April of this year written by a psychiatrist from the Mental Health Foundation found that Johnson suffered in the past of psychotic episode but that there are no indications he had an episode while he committed the murders. The psychiatrist established that there is no link between Johnson’s psychological condition and the crimes. Based on this report the court declared Johnson fully accountable for his actions.

Solicitor-General Taco Stein mildly objected, saying that the available reports are clear. “All that matters is the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the crime.”

The three members of the court briefly withdrew to consider the request and afterwards decided to grant the request. Judge F.J. Lourens ascertained that Johnson is prepared to cooperate.

Given the last word, Johnson first said silent for quite some time, before he exclaimed: “I want to talk to the media” – but that did not happen.

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