PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance on Wednesday sentenced suspect Claudius Creswel Milton (31) to sixteen years for having shot to death the sister of his former girlfriend Natashia Schmidt at Milton’s Drive in Dutch Quarter on October 29, 2018.
The Prosecutor’s Office had called for 18 years for the incident in which the 37-year-old mother of seven children was shot through the head at close range.
Milton also had fired gunshots at the deceased’s mother and at one of her friends, which the Judge classified as attempted manslaughter.
Milton was acquitted of the attempted manslaughter of a second friend, but was also found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm and of mistreatment of his partner, the victim’s sister.
In sentencing, the Court stated that the defendant had taken the victim’s life “in a gruesome way” and in the presence of, among others, her mother and her sister.
Milton had caused “indescribable and irreparable suffering,” as expressed in the statement of the bereaved during the hearing of this case on February 13, the court stated.
Self-defence pleadings were rejected by the Court, as the defendant’s statement that he had been tasered just before the incident was not supported by any evidence.
The court stated that manslaughter merits a prison sentence of 10-12 years. In this particular case the fact that the crime was committed in the presence of family members of the victim, which had led to a very traumatic situation with far-reaching consequences, in particular for the victim’s seven children, was found to be an aggravating circumstance.
Also, the court took into consideration that Milton had been sentenced previously for two attempted manslaughters, mistreatment and firearm possession.
The victim’s mother had filed for damages to the tune of US $46,733, consisting of $10,145 in material damages, $8,455 for immaterial damages and $28,183 for “shock damage” (“schokschade”).
The court awarded $10,145 in material damages, such as expenses for medical treatment and for funeral and legal costs. Because the defendant had shot at the woman, the court also awarded $2,500 in immaterial damages.
The mother’s claim for shock damage was declared inadmissible. The judge said the shooting was undoubtedly a “shocking and traumatic” experience, but no psychologist or psychiatrist had established that she was suffering from mental injury.
By verdict of August 15, 2018, Milton was given a suspended prison sentence of three months, and 180 hours of community service, on two years’ probation, for threats, mistreatment and possession of marijuana. The judge also ordered the execution of this sentence.