PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance imposed 14-year sentences Wednesday on two men held responsible for the murder of Gaston Ambroise Gumbs on November 10, 2012. The Prosecutor’s Office had requested similar sentences against the two suspects.
Sobiesky Manuel Parrondo (25) from the Dominican Republic did not hear Judge Tamara Tijhuis reading the verdicts. He was tried and sentenced in absentia, as he was among the three persons who escaped from the police station on June 23. A US $5,000 reward has been offered to those with information about their whereabouts, but up till now there is still no trace of the fugitives.
Co-suspect Stevenson Pinder (39) from Dominica was present and shook his head while Judge Tijhuis read the verdict. “This is not right,” he said repeatedly upon hearing his conviction.
“You know I did not do it,” he told the Prosecutor before police officers directed him out of the Courtroom. Pinder had pleaded not guilty during the July 4 hearing and denied he was a drug dealer.
The Court found Parrondo and Pinder both guilty of murder and of burning the victim’s body in Hope Estate in November last year. French St. Martin resident Gumbs (50) was killed by two gunshots to his head.
On November 10, 2012, at 10:47pm, the Fire Department received a report about a fire in Hope Estate. Firemen found a body in the flames, which later proved to be Gumbs’ mortal remains.
The next morning, the police received a report that Gumbs had gone missing. His son told the police that his father was meeting two persons near Guana Bay, but had not returned home.
An autopsy revealed that Gumbs was killed with two shots to the neck with a semi-automatic 9 mm Glock.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Gumbs had wanted to purchase 25 kilos of cocaine from his killers. Pinder was in financial problems after he had been robbed of two kilos of cocaine during a rip deal. His supplier demanded money and Pinder considered Gumbs’ request the ideal occasion to set up a rip deal of his own to solve his monetary difficulties, the Prosecutor’s Office stated.
Video images taken by a surveillance camera at a gas station showed Pinder and Parrondo purchasing gasoline, cigarettes and a lighter. Both told the police later that they are not smokers. Gumbs was burned with the use of gasoline. His car was burned later in Sandy Ground.
Pinder’s lawyer Shaira Bommel had requested her client’s acquittal for lack of evidence.
Attorney-at-law Geert Hatzmann had said there were no indications that Parrondo had been involved with murder. He had pleaded guilty on the cremation and firearm possession charges, and said he considered a two-year sentence to be sufficient.