September 27, 2012 7:36 AM
PHILIPSBURG--The investigating judge upheld on Wednesday the detention of M.J.K., the suspect in the murder of American nationals Michael and Thelma King.
A handcuffed M.J.K., clad in a white T-shirt that he pulled over his face, was led into the Courthouse mid-morning Wednesday and was led back out of the Courthouse and returned to detention less than an hour later. A small group of persons, including family members, had gathered by the Courthouse to get a glimpse of the suspect.
M.J.K. is still being held at the Philipsburg police station.
He is the only person detained so far as a suspect in the murders of the Kings, whose bodies were discovered in their Cupecoy condominium last week Friday. The two were long-time visitors to the island and owned several properties here.
Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said in a press release Wednesday that Judge C.T.M. Luijks considered M.J.K.'s arrest and prolongation of custody until October 3 lawful. A decision on further prolongation of his detention will be taken October 3.
"The suspect refrained from giving any statement to the judge and the police pertaining to the case," Mos said.
Mos also explained that after the first 10 days of custody, the prosecution will have to decide whether it will ask the judge for the suspect's pre-trial detention. This phase could last a maximum of another 106 days, but the judge will have to decide on prolongation several times during that period of time.
At the end of the pre-trial detention, the prosecution will decide whether M.J.K. will be charged or released pending further investigation.
Police conducted a door-to-door investigation at Ocean Club Resort on Wednesday, September 26, and questioned possible witnesses. An extensive amount of video footage from surveillance cameras has been secured and will be investigated by police and prosecution.
Police and prosecution also have been in contact with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which offered assistance in the investigation. "This offer was kindly accepted and both police and prosecution are now discussing with the FBI where the help could be most effective. It is likely that some investigation will have to be conducted in the US," Mos said.
The release also stated that information had reached police via the provided tip lines. The prosecution has not disclosed what kind of information was given, but will be investigating this tip.
The tip lines are still open and persons with information are urged to call 9300 locally and 1-721-542-0345 internationally, the press release concluded.
Michael King was a retired insurance executive who later started a company in Blythewood, South Carolina, that manufactured adhesive labels. Friends said he had been a self-made man who had started from humble beginnings and had become quite wealthy through his business acumen. Blythewood is near the state capital of Columbia.
Both Michael and Thelma grew up in the Columbia area and moved later to Mount Pleasant, a suburban community along the coast. They purchased a condominium in the Tolers Cove development near the Intracoastal Waterway in 2007 for more than US $970,000, according to Charleston County records.
The couple split their time between Mount Pleasant and their home in St. Maarten, friends said.
Their friend Terry Tamblyn of Isle of Palms said he was a partner in St. Maarten rental property with Michael King and that the couple had been on the island for vacation and business. Michael King was building a rum factory with long-time friend Topper Daboul on the island, with plans to export Topper's Gourmet Rhum Liqueurs to the United States, friends said.
M.J.K.'s attorney Brenda Brooks had said on Tuesday that her client was denying involvement in the murders. Brooks said her client also was denying that he had resisted arrest as alleged by authorities.