Suspect in ‘Coconut’ shootout case sent to prison for 8 years

PHILIPSBURG--A 36-year-old suspect in the so-called “Coconut” investigation into a shooting which took place in front of a night club in Simpson Bay, early Sunday morning, November 18, 2018, was sentenced to eight years, on Wednesday.
 
  During the court hearing of August 21, the Prosecutor had called for a prison sentence of 14 years, whereas the suspect’s lawyer Shaira Bommel had pleaded not guilty on her client’s behalf, for lack of legal and convincing evidence.
 
  Bystanders had told the police that a group of men had shot at each other along Simpson Bay Road. No injuries were reported during the 3:36am incident.
 
  The evidence against suspect Jarvill Omarrie Richardson was primarily based on the footage of video-surveillance cameras, a compilation of which, made by the Prosecutor’s Office, was shown in the “Pineapple” courtroom.
 
  The images showed commotion on the street and a person running towards a vehicle that was parked further up the road. He returned and fired a shot in the direction of Simpson Bay Bridge.
 
  Also, there was a person dressed in black who could been seen firing gunshots in the direction of a person on the road. That person fired back. The numerous visitors of Simpson Bay’s nightlife were scared and could be seen running for safety.
 
  The defendant did not deny that he had been at High Up dance and nightclub located close to the Simpson Bay bridge, but denied any involvement in the shooting.
 
  The club owner had testified that a tall Rastafarian and a short, skinny young man had become involved in an altercation with a broad-shouldered man. Police officers later identified the defendant as the broad-shouldered man, who was seen on camera images.
 
  Richardson, who was also found guilty of illegal firearm possession, had previously been convicted of violent crimes, most recently in 2008. In 2010, the Joint Court of Justice had sentenced him to 10 years for a series of armed robberies. He was released from prison in 2018, not long before the November 2018 shooting. He was arrested on January 18, 2019.
 
  The suspect has been guilty of abusive firearm violence on the street, the Judge said in the verdict. “This resulted in great danger and fear for bystanders and damaged the reputation of St. Maarten and the local nightlife,” he said.
 
  It was a “miracle” that no-one was hurt by flying bullets and it was “fortunate” that no personal suffering had to be compensated for, but considering the suspect’s “outlaw behaviour,” the Judge found a lengthy prison term warranted.
 
  Because there were no casualties, the Court imposed a lower sentence than the Prosecutor’s demand, which was close to the applicable maximum penalty, according to the Judge.
 
The Daily Herald

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