PHILIPSBURG–Franklyn Thewet (24) was sentenced to 15 months in prison of which five are suspended with a probation period of three years for illegal firearm possession.
He also was suspected of firing gunshots at two security guards outside the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) Emergency Room (ER) on February 29. The prosecutor had requested a prison sentence of three years for attempted manslaughter, but the judge did not find it proven.
Problems started when three persons injured in a bar fight on Soualiga Road were taken to the SMMC ER for treatment by different groups of relatives and friends. The fight was between members of the Dutch Quarter gang and Cul de Sac “boys.” The first group arrived at the hospital around 9:00pm and a second group around 11:00pm, the two SMMC security guards told the police.
The two groups became aggressive, after which a fight ensued outside the entrance to the ER. Staff called the police to calm the situation down, but 30 minutes after the police had left another injured man was brought in. The second group then turned to this man, identified as “Marco,” who was sitting in a car in the parking lot. Confronted with the group, the car drove away. Shortly thereafter, two or three gunshots were fired at the entrance, the guards reported.
As it was dark, the guards could not provide a clear description of the shooter(s), but said they had seen two or three persons wearing hoodies. Police patrols were dispatched immediately and Thewet was arrested shortly afterward. He told the judge he had also been at the bar, but had not taken part in the fight. As his friend Marco had been injured, he also went to SMMC, but he said he had been approached by a car with three “aggravated” men in it while walking along Welgelegen Road.
One of the men, whom he knew as “Juliano,” told Thewet that there had been an altercation at the hospital and gave him a hoody, which he was to throw away in the garage where he was working as a mechanic. According to his detailed story to the judge, he became scared after he found out the hoody contained a firearm.
“I panicked and threw the hoody, the firearm and my T-shirt in the bushes, as I was afraid that someone might have seen the gun when it fell to the ground,” he said.
The Prosecutor maintained that there was insufficient proof to consider attempted manslaughter proven, but said there was enough evidence that the defendant had shot at random at two innocent security guards on duty.
The Court of First Instance did not find the accusations of attempted manslaughter, aggravated assault and threat legally and convincingly proven. The Prosecutor’s Office is considering the possibility to appeal the verdict.
Source: Daily Herald
15 months behind bars for suspected shooter