“I never did want to hurt her,” Estika Halley’s attacker claims | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–Surrounded by four heavily armed members of the St. Maarten Alpha Team wearing balaclavas and dark sunglasses, the convicted attacker of Estika Halley sat in court on Monday morning to appeal his sixteen-year sentence for attempted murder. With his hands chained to a belt around his waist, Marlon B., who has served two years in prison to date, refused to show any accountability and maintained his innocence, stating, “It wasn’t me.”

In the early morning hours of July 31, 2022, Halley attempted to fend off an attacker in her car who slashed her throat and stabbed her multiple times as she tried to escape. Critically injured, she lay in front of the Emerald funeral home in Cay Hill. Using her own blood, the 25-year-old woman wrote “Marlon” on the side of a vehicle. Her attacker returned, erased the name and slashed both her ankles, leaving her to die. As a final testament, she wrote “Marlon” again in blood.

In its verdict in July, the lower court found it proven that Marlon B. had broken into Halley’s car on the night of the attack, hiding for an hour-and-a-half and assaulting her as she drove home from her boyfriend’s house around 3:40am. The motive for the attack was considered to be jealousy. Halley previously had a sexual relationship with Marlon B., who is 13 years her senior.

There was evidence from surveillance cameras and mobile phone tracking data linking B. to Halley’s car, which had been parked near Belvedere earlier that night. Surveillance footage from a supermarket shows that the car was broken into, triggering the alarm lights, and the perpetrator, who was wearing a mask, fled the scene. Fifteen minutes later, the masked individual returned, entered the car, and did not exit.

The first hearing in Brooks’ appeal of his 16-year prison sentence took place on November 2, 2023, and the appellate court held a subsequent hearing on February 15, 2024. “During several hearings we established what took place on the night of July 31, 2022,” the presiding judge said on Monday, expressing the court’s intention to engage in a serious conversation with the convict about his motives and train of thought on that night. “There is a lot at stake for you.”

B. remained unmoved by the indictment from the solicitor-general, who charged him again with attempted murder. The judge asked B. to describe in his own words what the court had gotten wrong in first instance, to which he responded, “Everything.”

When B. did not specify, the judge pointed out that the trial on Monday was his only chance to explain himself and his actions. B., a former student of Milton Peters College who finished high school in the United States and returned to St. Maarten to work at a bank for several years before becoming a truck driver, admitted to the Court that he had not read his case file in preparation for the trial. He said he could not read it, because it was in Dutch. B. simply insisted: “I did not do it.”

Defence lawyer Shaira Bommel said the victim had it wrong when she testified that she recognized B by his voice when he attacked her and allegedly told her that she should have been with him that night instead of with her new boyfriend. Less than a week prior to the attack, in the night of July 25, B. sent Halley a series of text messages expressing his love for her and, when she did not respond, spoke more and more of frustration and anger.

However, B. told the court that he had not been in love with her and had had no serious intentions. He maintained that he had been at home in bed when Halley was attacked. His lawyer maintained

that the fact that signals from his cellphone led in the direction of Belvedere on the night of the attack did not proof that B. was actually holding this phone in his hand, or that mobile phone tracking data could place him at the crime scene.

The judge wondered what goes on in the mind of someone who breaks into a car, to hide for an hour-and-a-half inside. “What was the plan?” the judge asked B., who responded, “I don’t know. I have been locked up for two years and I am still wondering why she is calling my name.”

Halley, who was not present in the courtroom on Monday, was represented by attorney Sjamira Roseburg, who told the court, “Today, Estika had hoped that there could be closure. That Mr. B. would finally come clean. It hurts her so much that he has not done this to date. She still had some hope that he would still do this and that she could gradually move towards healing.”

Halley’s life had changed drastically, Roseburg said. “Where before this incident she was known as the carnival queen that everyone looked up to, she is now also known as a survivor of a brutal attack. Today she is the face of Victim Support St. Maarten.”

According to her doctors, it is a miracle that Halley, who had to undergo multiple surgeries, survived the murder attempt. “Estika is visibly disfigured for life. She will never forget this horror and will always be confronted with it whether she wants it or not. Estika was left for dead on July 31, 2022, but miraculously she survived this horror incident. She still has nightmares about this every day.”

Roseburg pleaded with the Court to grant Halley the maximum amount of 50,000 guilders in damages. Although her many operations were covered by SZV, she needs financial assistance to get the therapy she needs and to cover the loss of her I-phone and jewellery in the attack.

Described as an example of perseverance, Estika needs emotional and financial support to continue to succeed, Roseburg said. “She is not present today because on Tuesday she will receive her Master’s in Psychology from Leiden University. If this is not a miracle, after all that she has endured, I have no idea what is.”

The Court will make its ruling at 1:45pm July 15, 2024.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/i-never-did-want-to-hurt-her-estika-halley-s-attacker-claims