PHILIPSBURG–Following the Prosecutor’s recommendation, the Judge at the Court of First Instance sentenced Stedson M. Jacobus (23) Wednesday to ten years for shooting a man in his chest during an armed robbery at a bus stop on Back Street on August 16, 2015.
Based on the evidence presented, the Court found it legally and convincingly proven that the defendant had committed attempted manslaughter. He was also found guilty of possession of an illegal firearm.
The victim had also filed for US $18,699 in damages during the trial, which was heard February 10. The Court, however, declared the victim inadmissible in his claim as he could not prove why his medical expenses were not covered by Social and Health Insurances SZV.
The victim had provided an elaborate statement to the Police Force’s Serious Crime Team about what had transpired in the evening hours of Sunday, August 16, while he was waiting at the bus stop across from the gate to Old Street to catch a bus to go home.
“All of a sudden, I saw a man standing in front of me with a gun in his hand…The man told me: ‘Give me your money.’ I asked the man: ‘What money?’ I heard the man telling me: ‘Give me your money. This is not a joke.’ Right after he told me that, he cranked the gun and shot me in my chest,” the victim told the police two days later.
“He held the gun to my neck demanding the money. I put my hand in my pockets to show him that I didn’t have any money. I pulled away my neck to prevent him from shooting me in my neck and even though I did so, he still shot me in my neck…I began to run away from him and he ran behind me firing shots at me. I ran up to the church. When I looked around I saw that he was still running behind me. I ran into the Zout Steeg and when I looked around again I saw that he was no longer following me,” the victim said.
He ran straight into the nearby police station, telling the officer on duty that a man had tried to rob and shoot him. He also provided the officer with a description of his assailant.
In his report, the officer on duty mentioned that a bleeding man came running into the station at approximately 8:25pm. He fell down at the reception door and crawled into the corner under the counter, the officer stated.
He called an ambulance which took the victim, who was in “critical condition,” to the hospital.
Two security officers, working at Holland House beach hotel and Horizon View beach-front hotel, were presented as witnesses who saw the defendant around the time of the shooting with a pistol in his hand.
The defendant was also identified on video-surveillance images taken by a camera at a Front Street jewellery store. The victim identified Jacobus from photographs as the man who had attacked him. “He was very angry and aggressive,” the victim said, adding that he got a good look of the man after he had pulled the “hoody” off his head.
“I can’t forget his face. I saw him when he was coming and when he ran back down the road. Without you showing me the picture I could have seen him on the road and bring him to the police,” the victim told members of the Forensic Department.
Based on evidence found on and near the scene of the crime investigators arrived at the conclusion that at least seven shots were fired with a caliber-45 pistol. According to the Court, the victim sustained eight shot wounds in total at “vital” parts of his body.
Attorney-at-law Shaira Bommel had pleaded for her client’s acquittal. She found the witness’ statements unreliable, as well as the victim’s statement that he had recognized her client as the man who attacked him.
However, based on photographs and on the description provided by the victim, the defendant’s uncle, who is a police officer, also recognized him.
The suspect in question denied he had fired any shots or had even been in the vicinity of the shooting incident. He claimed he had been with his girlfriend and his mother from the early afternoon into the evening.
According to the two women, they had been driving around from 4:00pm or 5:00pm. The defendant’s mother said they had stopped at a sports complex to watch a soccer game. The Court, however, dismissed these statements as “manifestly mendacious.”
In June 2015, Jacobus was released from prison after sitting out a sentence for another armed robbery. He was convicted of violent crimes in 2011.
Source: The Daily Herald Armed robber gets ten years for violent bus-stop robbery