The suspects in the Econo Supermarket robbery of July 2019 entering the Courthouse on January 22, 2020. (File photo)
PHILIPSBURG–Two suspects were sentenced according to the prosecutor’s demand on Wednesday, for their involvement in the attempted armed robbery of Econo Supermarket in Cay Hill on July 4, 2019. The Court of First Instance sentenced Rahjan Akimo Chaka Ferdinand (27) to four years and co-defendant Delancy Dariono Kartokromo (30) to two years for their roles in the high-profile robbery.
The crime was foiled by an off-duty police officer who drew her service weapon and shot two of the robbers. One of them – Chadwyn Francis – later died of his injuries at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).
Both men “had been involved in a brutal armed robbery at a neighbourhood store in which gross violence was used on a cashier while others present were threatened with a firearm,” the judge stated in the verdict.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage depicts Francis and Ferdinand entering the supermarket around 8:00 that night. Ferdinand was brandishing a Glock .380 calibre pistol while Francis went to the cashier and demanded that he open the register and give him the day’s earnings. When the cashier did not move as quickly as Francis would have liked, he hit the cashier.
An off-duty police officer was in the supermarket at the time of the robbery and drew her service weapon, firing four times. Two of those bullets struck Francis, mortally wounding him, while another struck Ferdinand in his upper body.
The prosecutor had said during the hearing that it was the officer’s duty to protect citizens, but Ferdinand’s lawyer Safira Ibrahim had requested that her client receive an ample reduction in punishment, as he still suffers from physical and emotional trauma as a result of getting shot.
According to the Court, it could not be ascertained that the defendant’s rights had been violated. “Insofar as disproportionate police violence would have been applied to a co-suspect, this cannot lead to a reduction of the penalty for the suspect, because the violation was not committed against him,” the judge stated.
Ferdinand had told the judge that he was sorry for his role in the crime. He said he had arrived in St. Maarten not long before the robbery and was under pressure to send money home to help his family in St. Kitts. He said he had received the gun from Francis.
Kartokromo, who had not given any statements to the police during the investigation, confessed during the trial hearing of January 22 that he was the third man in the attempted robbery, being the “lookout” man and getaway driver.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/econo-supermarket-robbers-sentenced-to-4-and-2-years