Robbery and attempted murder punished with 8 years in jail

POSTED: 02/20/14 11:57 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced Michael-Angelo Labega yesterday to 8 years imprisonment for attempted murder on Keniel McKenzie. The 21-year old from sucker Garden, known under his nickname Gucci shot McKenzie in the neck and in his left eye in the night of June 10, 2013 on rock salt drive on Pond Island.

While the motive for the attempted murder remains unclear, McKenzie, nicknamed Matches, told investigators at the time that Gucci has asked him “Where is the money?” The victim said he gave his attacker between four and five hundred US dollars.

A man nicknamed Bingo went during the night in question from the le Petit chateau brothel to McKenzie’s nearby container-house to buy a drug called fontu. He was followed by Gucci. When McKenzie did not immediately open the door, Gucci kicked it in. The victim appeared at the door armed with a machete and saw himself confronted by a man pointing a gun at him. Gucci fired one shot outside, and then followed his victim inside where he shot him in his left eye. According to a witness statement by Bingo –who was earlier acquitted of any wrongdoing in this case – Gucci ran away holding a black bag “the size of a desk telephone.”

The court considered that attempted murder-charge against Gucci proven, based on the statements from the victim and from Bingo, and on forensic evidence.

“The defendant attempted to murder the victim,” the court concluded. “The victim survived, but, according to his own statement, he is blind in one eye. “Considering the medical report made after the attack, the court does not exclude that the victim also suffers other physical and psychological ailments. The defendant has said nothing about his motive. Apparently he committed the crime with the intention to kill the victim after the robbery to prevent him from testifying. This is a brutal crime and the court blames the defendant for it.”

Labega was also sentenced for firearm possession. The verdict is two years below the demand from prosecutor Tineke Kamps at the trial on January 29.

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