Supreme Court orders retrial of 2013 manslaughter case

POSTED: 01/8/16 6:13 PM

St. Maarten – The Supreme Court has sent the acquittal of Michael-Angelo Labega for the attempted manslaughter on Keniel McKenzie on June 10, 2013, back to the Common Court of Justice for review. The Supreme Court ruled on December 22 that the argument for the acquittal is “not plainly understandable.” The Common Court will have to handle the case again and render a new verdict on the charge of attempted murder or manslaughter.

On June 10, 2013, Labega – nicknamed Gucci – had gone from the Le Petit Chateau brothel on Pond Island to the home of McKenzie, a known drug dealer, on Rock Salt Drive in the company of a man nicknamed Bingo to buy drugs. Instead of buying drugs, Labega kicked in the door, robbed McKenzie of $500 and shot him in his left eye.

The Appeals Court acquitted Labega of the attempted manslaughter charge on May 29, 2014. The court’s argument for the acquittal was that it could not be ascertained that the defendant had the (conditional) intention to kill McKenzie, “because it cannot be established that there was a significant risk that the victim would die.”

The Supreme Court judges do not fully understand this reasoning, given the fact that Labega shot his victim in his eye. The court therefore ruled that the Common Court’s ruling lacks sufficient motivation.

The Appeals Court did sentence Labega however to 6 years of imprisonment for extortion and firearm possession.

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