Court lowers sentence for tragic fratricide

(TODAY) – St. Maarten – Charles Tristan Samuel found a little bit of relief with the Common Court of Justice yesterday, after it for fatally shooting his brother Jamal on February 12 of last year from 8 to 6 years. Of the appeal-sentence, 1 year is suspended, so that the 25-year old effectively has to serve 5 years. The court imposed 2 years of probation.

The brothers got into an argument last year over the use of the victim’s car. “Standing on a staircase during a heated argument the defendant pulled a loaded gun and aimed at his brother who stood at the bottom of the stairs. Subsequently the defendant engaged in a confrontation with his brother. By acting this way under these circumstances, the defendant consciously took the significant chance that the gun would go off during the confrontation and that his brother would be hit fatally,” the court wrote in its ruling.

That chance became a reality because Samuel fired the weapon twice during the struggle with his brother. One bullet hit Jamal Samuel fatally.

The court rejected attorney Cor Merx’ call on self-defense. “This call is based on different facts than the ones the court considers proven. “It is not Jamal Samuel who entered the confrontation with a gun.”

Still the court arrived at a lower sentence than the 8 years the Court in First Instance imposed on July 4 of last year.

“The victim was shot at the age of 20 and he had a whole life ahead of him. The defendant took that away from him. The defendant has also caused a lot of grief to the relatives.”

But the court also took other circumstances into account: “The defendant also suffers severely under the situation and will have to live with the fact that he ended the life of his own brother and that he is therefore responsible for a family drama. The defendant has also shown willingness to accept the consequences of his actions by taken on the responsibility for his brother’s son once he is released.”

The court also noted that Samuel does not have a criminal record and that his life before the shooting he had his affairs in order before the shooting.

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