Robbers of Today printer for 4 to 6.5 years to jailPOSTED: 06/28/12 12:05 PM
St. Maarten – Three robbery suspects denied any and all involvement in a robbery at the home of Today printer Kurt Joseph in the night of March 2, but when everything was said and done yesterday afternoon in the Court in First Instance, the suspects went back to their cells with prison sentences between 4 and 6.5 years to their name.
Fantonell Lorenzo Brown, 35, received the heaviest sentence, due to his criminal record that lists among others an armed robbery in 2003 whereby a victim lost his life. A second defendant, Marvin Lewis, 29, was sentenced to 5 years and Cristofer Urbaez has to serve 4 years behind bars.
The three defendants denied their involvement in the robbery, and they even denied that they knew each other. Unfortunately for the robbers, their victim knew at least two of them only too well. Urbaez, nicknamed Chicken, is somebody Joseph has helped in the past, and Brown he talked to occasionally in Cole Bay.
In the night in question, somebody knocked on Joseph’s door after midnight. When he asked who it was and got the answer Chicken, he opened the door and then he was stormed by four robbers. They threw their victim to the ground, threatened him with a firearm and a knife and attempted to tie his hands behind his back.
Joseph initially resisted, screaming for help and telling the robbers not to kill him. “They pointed a gun at my head and told me to be quiet. Then they put the barrel of the gun against my forehead and hit me with the butt of the gun on my head. They told me to get back in the house if I did not want to get killed.”
Pretending to do what the robbers asked and get back into his home, Joseph suddenly made a run for it and escaped to a neighbor’s house from where he called 911. He described to the dispatcher how three of the robbers got into a silver colored car. While the robbers escaped, a police patrol was already underway; it managed to stop their car shortly afterwards.
Two other robbers, who were not identified in court, were seen by the victim leaving his house carrying a big bag. The robbers stole four cell phones, $3,600 in cash, a laptop and a gold ring.
The defense had called a 39-year-old fireman to testify that he had been in a bar in St. Peters around the time of the robbery and that he had seen Brown come in there. But when he was quizzed by the prosecution, he was unable to pinpoint the date or even the day he had been in this bar with Brown. The judge dismissed the alibi.
The car that was used during the robbery was rented by Brown the day before and he immediately had tinted the windows. “That’s because I go with a lot of females and I don’t want to get into trouble,” he said.
But the joke did not help his case. When prosecutor Ridderbeks asked Urbaez, who changed his statements in court compared to his earlier statements to the Judge of Instruction, whether he was afraid of Brown and Lewis, the latter two started laughing. But the fact that Urbaez is detained at his own request at the police station, while Lewis and Brown are held in Pointe Blanche actually answers the question.
Prosecutor Ridderbeks said that there is ample proof for the involvement of the three defendants in the robbery. She noted that Urbaez had asked in a letter to his mother to ask Joseph to change his statement and to downplay his involvement. The prosecutor demanded 6 years and 6 months against Brown, 5 years against Lewis (who would later cry when Judge Keppels sentenced him accordingly) and 4 years against Urbaez.
“When your nickname is Chicken and you are used as a decoy, you are at the bottom of the hierarchy,” attorney Geert Hatzmann said about his diminutive client.
He said that his client’s actions do not meet the criteria for being an accessory; and because he is charged with accessory to the robbery, but with complicity, he should be acquitted.
mr. Shaira Bommel said that there is insufficient proof to support the statements of the victim. She also pointed to the fact that Urbaez had made different statements that contradict each other. “The victim’s statements are also inconsistent and therefore not reliable.”
But Judge Monique Keppels wasted little time on the case, saying that she had studied the file well and that she would pronounce her verdict immediately. “The complaint by the victim finds sufficient proof in supporting evidence,” she said, adding that Urbaez is in the court’s opinion an accomplice, even though his role was minor. Lewis and Brown were also convicted for the possession of the stiletto.