Prosecution appeals acquittal of teen in Middle Region stabbing

POSTED: 12/3/13 12:08 PM

St. Maarten – The prosecutor’s office has appealed the verdict of the Court in First Instance in the case of Eric J.J. who stood trial on October 23 as a suspect in the killing of Kimberly Illidge on March 23 of this year. The court acquitted the 17-year-old of complicity. Shanieska Brooks, who stabbed Illidge, was sentenced to 8 years; her attorney Shaira Bommel said yesterday that she has appealed this verdict.

Solicitor-General Taco Stein said that there is no date yet for the appeal hearing. “I do not expect this before March of next year,” he told this newspaper yesterday.

The prosecution demanded a 5-year conditional prison sentence and 180 hours of community service against Eric J. in October, for complicity to murder but the court acquitted him of all charges. The court ruled that there is no legal and convincing evidence to convict the youngster.

While there is no difference of opinion about the fact that J. provided the knife to his co-defendant Shanieska Brooks – which she later used to stab her 20-year-old adversary Illidge to death – the court ruled that he had provided the weapon to enable the girl to defend herself.

A second argument to acquit Eric J. is that he was unaware of his co-defendant’s intention to stab Illidge. Brooks had sent a text message to several people with the text (edited for readability – ed.) “If you don’t see me reply in 30 min call my father because this girl wants to fight me. I have a knife and I am not backing down, so it is either she or me getting stabbed tonight babe.”

Eric J. was not among the recipients of this message. “This way he could also not know that Brooks’ intention was not to defend herself but to act as the aggressor,” the court ruled.

The Court in First Instance further found that there is no clear picture of Eric J.’s behavior during the fight that ended with the death if Illidge. Some witnesses have declared that J. pushed Brooks towards her opponent and encouraged her to continue the fight, while others stated that he attempted to separate the fighting girls.


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