Seven armed robberies, eight years in prison

POSTED: 10/15/15 4:31 PM

St. Maarten – Eight years of imprisonment was the sentence for Jurendy Jacob Brooks yesterday morning for committing a string of seven armed robberies and for firearm possession. The punishment is almost half of the 15 years the prosecution demanded at the trial on September 23. The court sentenced his accessory to these crimes, 24-year-old Lorine Lake, to 3 years, less than a third of the prosecution’s demand for a 10 year prison sentence. One year of this sentence is suspended.

Brooks was less than three weeks free of electronic surveillance when he committed his first of seven armed robberies at the Hai Hui Supermarket on Zagersgut Road on May 1 of this year. His next targets were Amity Supermarket (May 9), Usave Supermarket (May 25), Pondfill Supermarket (May 26), Vanke (May 26), Chen (May 29) and Bobby Food (June 1). The exact amount of money these robberies yielded is unclear, but it is at least $1,800.

“St. Maarten is afflicted by similar robberies that are a serious infringement on feelings of safety in the community,” the court ruling states about Brooks. “During the investigation the suspect has not wanted to come clean, but he behaved as a victim. He gave no indication whatsoever that he has thought about the adverse effects for the many victims. The suspect was solely focused on his personal financial gain.”

The court held it against Brooks that he has a 2011-conviction for armed robbery to his name. The court rejected the defense argument that Brooks does not deserve prison time because he has financial problems and because he will shortly become a father. “The protection of the community against unscrupulous people like the suspect carries significantly more weight that the suspect’s personal interests.”

Lorine Lake, a French-side citizen, was acquitted as an accomplice to the robberies, but the court sentenced her for being an accessory. She provided transportation every time Brooks asked for it.

During the investigation the young woman came clean, but at the trial her openness had evaporated, the court notes in its ruling. “There is a suspicion that co-defendant Brooks has pressured this suspect to negate her incriminating statements.”

Lake said at the trial that a male detective had pressured her to make statements and that she never knew Brooks intended to rob the supermarkets. The court established that the interrogating officer was a woman and that her denials are at odds with the detailed statements she made under interrogation. The court noted furthermore that Lake’s role in the robberies had been limited, thereby justifying the much lower sentence.

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