Vesuvius members Omar Jones and Carlos ‘the hitman” Richardson had their sentences commuted to 29 years. The other our members o the Bling Bling Gang, also had their sentences vastly decreased.
he Vesuvius-case involves four murders, two attempted murders, firearm possession and membership in a criminal organisation.
The crimes were committed between April and August 2011 against the backdrop of a war between two gangs involved in the drug trade. Violence erupted after Omar Jones’ brother Amador was shot dead on April 16, 2011
The crimes include the attempted murder of Omax Bay and Kennedy Fergus on April 20, 2011 in Dutch Quarter, the murder of Miguel Arrindell in Cole Bay on May 25, 2011, the murder of Arrindell’s brother Rodolfo on Fort Willem Road on July 7, 2011, and the killing of Eric Lake and Kevin Gumbs in Madame Estate on August 17, 2011.
Solicitor-General Taco Stein had requested the Appeals Court to uphold the life sentences for Jones and Richardson. He had also asked for sentences of between five and nine years for the other suspects.
The Appeals Court found life-sentences for Jones (36) and Richardson (31) not justifiable. According to the Court, there was insufficient evidence that both men had been the instigators or had in any other way been involved in the shooting at Cat’s Shopping Center on A.Th. Illidge Road on August 17, 2011, which had cost the lives of Lake and Gumbs.
Co-suspect Andrew “Ratty” Davis (32) had stated that Jones had shot Lake in his back, but a witness had told the police that Ratty had held people at gunpoint during this double murder and that someone named Kevin and Richardson had fired the fatal shots.
Nevertheless, Richardson was also acquitted of these murders, because the Joint Court could not determine how many offenders were exactly involved in these murders.
This led the Court to reduce Jones’ and Richardson’s sentences to 30 years. Both also received additional three-month reductions on their sentences in compensation of violations of their rights.
According to the Joint Court, the Prosecutor’s Office had illegally obtained recordings of “confidential communication” between Jones and co-suspect Erno Labega (30) in a police van in Aruba.
Richardson received a similar reduction on his sentence, because police infiltrators had been covertly placed in his cell at the police station to listen in on conversations. This also constituted a violation of the European Human Rights Treaty, the Court stated.
Jones and Richardson were both arrested on November 16, 2011, and already spent two years in pre-trial detention.
The Appeals Court rejected lawyer Brenda Brooks’ position that there were possible other scenarios for the murders, such as the possible involvement of Colombians. The Court said this claim was insufficiently substantiated.
Labega also received a three-month reduction on his five-year sentence for rights’ violations. The Solicitor-General had requested six years.
The Court found it proven that Labega was involved in the preparations of the attempted murder of Omax Bye, whom he held for the killer of his cousin Amador Jones. Similar to the other suspects, Labega also was found guilty of firearm possession and membership in a criminal organisation.
Charles Fleming (38), Doniel Thomas (27) and Ekron Morgan (36) were all sentenced to four years.
The Solicitor-General had asked for eight years for Morgan, but the Appeals Court did not find sufficient evidence for his involvement in the murder of Miguel Arrindell.
The Prosecutor’s Office held Thomas as an accomplice in the assault on Bye and Fergus, and had asked for an increase of his prison term from seven to nine years. However, the Appeals Court acquitted Thomas of attempted manslaughter, and only found it proven that as “one of Omar’s boys” Thomas had stashed away weapons belonging to the organisation.
Fleming was found guilty of aiding and abetting in murder, and of firearm possession and membership in a criminal organisation.
Fleming had stated he was innocent and had said his statements to the police were incorrect. The Joint Court said it was more likely that Fleming had wanted to retract his statements under influence of his co-suspects, who had threatened him.
The Prosecutor’s Office and the defendants have two weeks to launch final appeals with the High Court in The Hague.
The hearing in the appeal of suspect Davis, who was sentenced by the Court of First Instance to nine years, is scheduled for February 27, 2014.
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