PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance sentenced a 25-year-old man to five years on Wednesday for having fired gunshots at a man who had attacked his boss with a stick in the vicinity of ACE Megacenter in Cole Bay, on April 29, 2019.
According to reports, the suspect shot multiple times and fled the scene in an unknown vehicle. The victim, though injured, managed to jump into his own car and drove to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), where he was admitted for treatment.
During the August 21 hearing in this case, defendant Delton Balton Johnson confessed to the crime.
“On the morning of April 29, 2019, the four of us were at ACE: my boss, two others and me. At a certain moment the man [the victim – Ed.] came out of a car with a stick. He started hitting my boss. I saw [the victim] run. I did not know what to do. I fired the first shot. He kept running. I reloaded the weapon and fired another time. The third time he was lying on the ground and I stood still to have a look. I thought he was dead. It was a self-made pistol,” he told the Court.
The Court agreed with the Prosecutor and the defence that the suspect should be acquitted of attempted murder. However, he was found guilty of attempted manslaughter, as he had fired several gunshots at the victim, who was hit in his head, an arm and a leg.
Also, the judge found possession of an illegal firearm with ammunition proven. Pleadings of self-defence were dismissed.
The defendant shot the victim – in his own words, to protect his boss – who was attacked by the victim with a piece of wood.
The Court said this case was an example of the fact that carrying loaded firearms in public poses life-threatening dangers.
“If the suspect had not brought a weapon, the situation would probably have turned out very differently, both for the victim and for the suspect,” the judge stated in the verdict.
The suspect had turned himself in to the police and had shown remorse and compassion for the victim. However, the Parole Board was concerned with the fact that the defendant had been walking around with a self-made firearm and had not hesitated to actually use the weapon.
The Prosecutor had asked for a prison sentence of eight years, but considering the first offender’s orderly life, his regret and the fact that he seemed to realise his actions were “very bad and impulsive,” the Court decided to impose a lesser sentence.