PHILIPSBURG–Jurendy Jacob Brooks (28), who is held responsible for involvement in a string of armed robberies of grocery stores, and of extortion and gun possession, may be facing ten years on appeal, the Solicitor-General said Thursday.
In October 2015, the Court of First Instance sentenced Brooks to eight years. His female cousin, who drove him to the crime scenes and helped him flee by car, was sentenced to three years, one of which was suspended, on two years’ probation.
The Prosecutor’s Office had initially requested 15 years for Brooks and 10 years for his cousin.
Between November 2014 and June 2015, a number of armed robberies were committed at Chinese grocery stores in St. Maarten during which approximately US $1,800 and telephone cards were taken.
Brooks’ role in the spree consisted of seven armed robberies, which were committed between May 1 and June 1, 2015. A gun, and a T-shirt, a hat and a cap, which were used in the robberies, were found in a car on the day of his arrest.
The majority of stores were Chinese-owned and they were all robbed by perpetrators using the same pattern of approach and similar clothing.
Brooks told the Appeals Court he had filed for appeal because he denied all charges. “I have nothing to do with robberies,” he said.
However, his cousin had told the Police she had committed the robberies with him. “She is lying. We were not together,” Brooks said in response.
The car mechanic by profession was sentenced for theft with violence in 2011. Brooks was less than three weeks released from electronic surveillance when he committed the first of seven armed robberies at Hai Hui supermarket on Zagersgut Road on May 1, 2015.
The other targeted grocery stores were Amity (May 9), U-Save (May 25), Pondfill (May 26), Vanke (May 26), Chen (May 29) and Bobby Food (June 1).
Solicitor-General Anton van der Schans said Thursday there was more than enough legal and convincing evidence against the defendant, including video-surveillance camera images.
Brooks’ attorney Marlon Hart disagreed and said the evidence did not include personal characteristics of his client.
The clothing and head dresses that were found, including a United People’s (UP) party cap, were too commonplace to serve as proof, the lawyer said.
The statement of his client’s co-defendant were “false and unreliable” and were only meant to minimise her own role, the lawyer said in calling for his client’s acquittal. The Appeals Court will give its decision September 14.
Source: Daily Herald
Grocery store robber facing ten-year sentence on appeal