Thirty-year-old man acquitted of prosecution in Maho shootout

PHILIPSBURG–Following the Prosecutor’s Office and the defence lawyer in the case of a 30-year-old man suspected of involvement in the April 22 shootout at Maho Reef’s parking lot close to Platinum Room nightclub, the Court of First Instance on Wednesday acquitted the defendant of all prosecution. For the possession of two illegal firearms and ammunition, the Prosecutor, on June 28, demanded a prison sentence of 20 months, six of which were to be suspended, on three years’ probation, as well as the destruction of the weapon and ammunition.

  In rendering the verdict, the Judge sentenced Hector Seferino Lopez Cleto to 15 months, five of which are to be suspended, on two years’ probation. The .45 calibre firearm will be destroyed.

  The shootout, which was captured on two video-surveillance cameras, involved four men: two persons who were described as “Rasta men,” Lopez and a friend of his.

  After parking his vehicle at the parking lot at Amazon Road, adjacent to Platinum Room, a car parked behind Lopez’s car. Two men stepped out of the vehicle, and one of them started shooting at Lopez, and Lopez fired back.

   Based on these facts and under these circumstances, the Court found it proven that Lopez was entitled to defend himself.

  Considering the nature and severity of the attack, the Judge did not consider the use of a firearm to be disproportionate.

  It was also taken into consideration that Lopez had been trapped between parked cars when he came under attack, and did not have the opportunity to escape.

Source: The Daily Herald