Shooting suspect remains in jail until October trial

POSTED: 09/25/14 1:35 PM

Richard Vidal

Shooting victim Richard Vidal. Photo giveforward.com

St. Maarten – Aleandro de Jesus St. J. loudly proclaimed his innocence yesterday morning in the Court in First Instance, but Judge Koos van de Ven saw no reason to suspend or terminate the defendant’s pretrial detention. St. J., 34, is behind bars as a suspect in the shooting of Richard Vidal on May 15 of this year near a bar in Cole Bay.

Apparently, Vidal spoke to a woman identified in court as Linda, and this upset the suspect so much that he went after him. Outside the bar, he allegedly shot Vidal in the abdomen and in his arm.

Charged with attempted manslaughter, St. J. told the court that he is innocent, after hearing prosecutor Karola van Nie’s request to postpone the trial until October 22. “I am sitting there for nothing. Where is the evidence?” he said.

His attorney Dagmar Daal asked the court to terminate or suspend her client’s detention, because there are, in her opinion, no serious objections to his release and because most of the evidence is based on hearsay.

To illustrate that St. J. plays by the rules, the attorney pointed out that he was the one who found a bullet in the Pointe Blanche prison near his cell during the recent uproar and that he had immediately taken it to prison director Edward Rohan.

Prosecutor Van Nie had another vision on the facts. “Witnesses in the bar said that there was an argument because the victim talked to a woman called Linda and that this angered the defendant. The defendant also says that he was at home, but his girlfriend does not confirm his alibi. Now there are apparently new witnesses who could testify that the defendant was with them at a car was at the time of the shooting.”

The prosecutor furthermore said that the defendant was sentenced to 3 years for an armed robbery in 2012.

Judge Koos van de Ven set the trial date for October 22, and dismissed the requests to terminate or suspend the defendant’s detention. “There are serious objections, the legal order has been shocked and the interest of the society has to carry more weight than the defendant’s personal interest.”

St. J. left the courtroom in a huff, addressing the judge with some choice words. Downstairs in the courthouse he loudly banged on a wall in frustration, but the situation did not spin further out of control.

Giveforward.com, a website dedicated to raising funds for victims of crimes, has so far raised a bit more than $1,700 towards the victim’s hospital bills that (according to the website) total more than $30,000. Vidal spent two weeks in intensive care after the shooting and he underwent three operations whereby his spleen was removed.

His mother Jenny works at the Driftwood Bar in Maho and has attempted to raise money for her son’s hospital bills, the website reports.

Citizens who want to help Vidal, ought to visit www.giveforward.com

 

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