PHILIPSBURG–The Court of Appeals upheld the twelve-year sentence for 23-year-old defendant Joceidy Martin Grell who stabbed a man to death in Dutch Quarter on December 5, 2017. The court dismissed self-defence pleadings, it said on Thursday. The punishment is equal to the solicitor-general’s demand.
During the appeal hearing, attorney Sjamira Roseburg pleaded with the Court of Appeals to acquit her client of murder and manslaughter and to dismiss her client from all prosecution as he had acted in self-defence.
The victim Tafari R.S. Chumney sustained 10 stab-wounds all over his body, seven of which were inflicted to his backside. Three of the wounds were fatal.
The Prosecutor’s Office and the Appeals Court agreed with the defence that murder and premeditation could not be proven but found manslaughter legally and convincingly proven.
During the appeal hearing, Grell stated that he felt threatened by the victim with whom he had been in an altercation about a parking spot near his home. When he saw the man walk pass his house and look into the dwelling, where he was playing with his little daughter, he feared that his family was in danger of being shot at. In a “split-second” he decided to go after the man, who, he claimed, came at him with a knife.
Grell told the Appeals Court judges that he had managed to wrestle the knife out of his assailant’s hands and when he kept coming towards him, he (Grell) had stabbed him in the side.
As Grell had forcefully stabbed the victim multiple times in his upper body the court said the defendant had had the intention to kill.
The defendant’s self-defence claims were dismissed by the court considering the nature of the victim’s wounds, which pointed at an attack, whereas Grell had no defence wounds.
According to the court, these circumstances fit a scenario in which the deceased was the victim of a sudden attack and not one in which the suspect had to defend himself.