Man gets four months for death threats

POSTED: 07/4/13 2:52 PM

St. Maarten – This time, Broertje was on the other side of the law. The 43-year-old security guard, who was sentenced to 240 hours of community service last year for firearm possession, and damaging a police car when he attempted to escape a control on Front Street, was entangled in a brawl with 33-year-old Gerard Richards at the Diamond Casino on May 6.

Broertje – real name Defried Paulino Pedro Elodia – told Richards that he was not welcome at the casino and that he had to leave. Richards got angry, and a struggle ensued whereby he grabbed a bottle of rum from behind the casino-bar. Richards also pretended to take something from underneath his shirt, giving Broertje the impression that he was going to pull out a weapon. “I am going to kill you,” he allegedly told the security guard.

The casino manager in the meantime called the police and when officers arrived on the scene they overheard the continued threats.

Yesterday Richards was in court to take responsibility for his actions but that did not happen: the defendant denied he had threatened his adversary. Fresh from two earlier convictions for threatening people (in March, 6 weeks and in April, 3 months), Richards did not bring a lot of credit to the party. Up to yesterday the car mechanic spent already 57 days in pre-trial detention.

Prosecutor Karola van Nie considered the threat proven. “You attempted to empower your threat by pretending that you were grabbing a weapon from underneath your short,” she said. “I see no reason for a mild demand.” The prosecutor demanded 5 months imprisonment with deduction of the time already served.

Attorney Zylena Bary said that the file does not show that her client was banned from the casino. She considered the fact that the casino manager had not been interviewed, “a display of arrogance by the prosecutor’s office.”

The attorney said that she had not seen the video footage of the incident and that the judge had not seen in either. “My client will never be a victim,” she noted. “He will be sentenced because of his past, but I don’t think he deserves to spend more time in jail.”

Prosecutor van Nie dismissed the attempt to portray Richards as a victim: “He could have made other choices.”

Judge Tamara Tijhuis said it is not plausible that the defendant, as he claimed, had called the police. The video footage showed that he was engaged in the brawl with the security guard until the police arrived. She sentenced Richards to 4 months imprisonment.

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