Prosecution demands 4 years: Neighborly feud ends with another shooting

POSTED: 03/13/16 7:23 PM

St. Maarten News – If there are no coincidences, the story of Diane Hosea S. is a remarkable one. The 35-year-old stabbed a man whom he said had fired shots at him in the past near the Festival Village on April 27, 2014; on October 22 of last year his neighbor shot him in the stomach after a heated dispute. Yesterday, S. was in court, accused of attempted manslaughter on a brother of the man who shot him last year. The prosecution demands 4 years, with 2 years suspended and 2 years of probation.

To be fair, the court dropped all charges against S. in 2015 for the 2014 stabbing at the Festival Village. After careful consideration, the court ruled that he had acted in self-defense.

Yesterday was a different story though. The defendant has a long-running feud with his neighbors, two brothers of 46 and 49 years of age. On December 13 of last year, shortly after S. had recovered from the wound to his stomach he had sustained in the October-shooting, there was a confrontation with his neighbors Kenneth and Patrick at their apartment block in Union Farm.

The victim said that S. pointed a rifle at him from his balcony, that he had been looking “straight into the barrel” and that he had thrown himself backwards from a wall on which he was sitting. The victim told police that he heard a loud bang and that pieces of cement from the wall were flying around. Shortly afterwards, a second shot shattered the glass of his balcony door.

While the victim spoke of a distance to the gun of 6 to 7 meters, investigators found that it was actually more like 18 meters. They also found that S. had used buck shot. “The seriousness of the wounds from such a shot is determined by the distance,” Judge Angela noted. “But at 18 meters, it could still be dangerous.”

S. said that the victim had thrown a rock that had hit him in the back when he came home that day. “I ran upstairs where I had a BB-gun. I was scared, I just shot at the wall and then I asked my wife to call the police.”

Prosecutor Maarten Noordzij conceded that the shot could not have caused the victim’s death, but that it could have caused him grievous bodily harm. “You sought the confrontation. You were the victim of a shooting and that day you did the same thing.”

The prosecutor noted that the brother who had shot the defendant in October has in the meantime been sentenced to a prison sentence of 4 years, with 1 year suspended. The whole family has moved in the meantime. He demanded 4 years with 2 years suspended against S.

Attorney Geert Hatzmann said that his client deserved a compliment because he had reported voluntarily to the police. “There neighbors are 46 and 49-year old unemployed brothers who live with their mother. They are overgrown social dropouts.”

Hatzmann said that the brothers lied to the police and that Kenneth had threatened his client with a knife, while Patrick had thrown the rock. “My client admits that he fired a shot, but only to scare the hell out of the brothers,” Hatzmann said. “Those brothers ought to be deeply ashamed of themselves. There is no evidence for attempted manslaughter.”

Hatzmann asked the court to acquit his client of this charge, but conceded the firearm possession. “The demand of the prosecution is too high,” he said. “A conditional sentence combined with community service will do.”

The court pronounces its verdict on March 30.

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