Man who stabbed his tenant still at large – Attempted manslaughter punished with 24 months

POSTED: 09/14/12 3:02 PM

St. Maarten – Diony Rafael Rivas Hernandez probably knew what was coming to him so he did not attend the court session yesterday morning where Judge Tamara Tijhuis pronounced the sentence in his attempted manslaughter trial. The verdict: 24 months imprisonment, with 6 months suspended and 2 years of probation. The court terminated the suspension of Hernandez custody and ordered his imprisonment. But because the defendant was not present, the execution of that order is still pending.

Rivas Hernandez was confronted on March 24 with his neighbor and tenant Noel de Jesus Lopez. The man was belligerent and drunk and he threw a beer glass at the defendant and started to hit and kick him. Rivas Hernandez picked up a knife from a table and stabbed Lopez in his belly. That the victim survived was not the defendant’s merit, the court noted.

Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp demanded 3 years imprisonment at the trial on August 23, while his attorney Brenda Brooks asked the court to acquit her client because he did not have the intention or the conditional intention to kill Lopez. She also pleaded self-defense and said that her client had acted under severe emotional distress, caused by the victim’s actions.

But Judge Tijhuis concluded that there is sufficient proof for attempted manslaughter. Rivera Hernandez admitted in court that he had stabbed his tenant. The court accepted that the victim had been aggressive and that he had sought the confrontation. “But the defendant’s defense was not necessary or proportionate,” Judge Tijhuis ruled.

Rivera Hernandez did not make clear that it was impossible for him to get away from the situation (he could have gone back into his own house) and the violence he used was disproportionate.

Judge Tijhuis did not find proof that the defendant had acted under severe emotional distress – a condition for accepting a form of self-defense.

The judge took into account that the defendant has a clean record, that the aggressive and drunk victim had attacked him, and that he had reported voluntarily to the police after the stabbing.

Attempted manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 16 years imprisonment. The legal order is still shocked because of the defendant’s actions, the court ruled. “There is an important reason of social safety that demands the defendant’s immediate imprisonment,” the judge ruled.

But that judgment could not be executed yesterday morning because the defendant was not in court. His custody had been suspended by the Judge of Instruction and he was free – but not obliged – to attend his trial and the reading of the verdict. Rivas Hernandez did show up for the trial in August, but he opted to stay away from the sentencing, justly fearing that he might be arrested on the spot.

Did you like this? Share it:
Man who stabbed his tenant still at large - Attempted manslaughter punished with 24 months by

Comments are closed.