Maho Beach, ST. MAARTEN — Three suspects accused of robbing and killing Michael and Thelma King of Mount Pleasant partied at an island brothel after slitting their victims’ throats, according to testimony this morning.
Thelma King, 57, and her husband, Michael, 53, were found stabbed to death in their beachfront condominium on Sept. 21, the victims of an apparent robbery gone bad.
Today, the three men accused of killing the couple are standing trial in a small court in nearby Philipsburg. Meyshane Kemar Johnson, 28; Jeremiah Chevon Mills, 17; and Jamal Jefferson Woolford, 20, face the possibility of life in prison if convicted.
According to evidence presented in court today, the three men got together earlier in the evening and engaged in drinking while riding around in a borrowed car. At some point, they drove to the Happy Star Chinese Restaurant and robbed the business at gun point. Police shot at the suspects as they piled into the getaway car and drove off. They then switched license plates and drove around the island, eventually ending up at the Ocean Club Villas in the Cupecoy section in the Dutch side of St. Maarten.
Mills told the judge that they approached the King’s beach house after spotting a light on there. They saw Michael King sleeping on a chair inside and they headed into the home.
They woke Michael King up and demanded cash while Johnson reportedly held him at knife point in a choke hold. The other two men went upstairs and woke up Thelma King and forced her to open the safe.
The two men then marched Thelma King downstairs, tied her to a chair and blindfolded and gagged her. From there, the stories become unclear. The judge said Johnson told police that he stabbed Michael King and slit his throat after he made a move to come to his wife’s aid. The judge, however, said evidence does not support that account.
Johnson repeatedly insisted that despite the detailed statement that he provided to police, he now has no memory of the episode. He said he has memory loss at times due to drinking.
Mills and Woolford don’t deny being in the house during the robbery but insist they were not there when the Kings were killed.
After the killings, the trio went to a brothel, had more drinks, and paid for women’s services. They could not recall if they did so with money from the King’s home or the restaurant robbery.
Mills said they came away from the house with a stack of $100 bills from the safe and a package of drugs he later sold for a couple thousand dollars. Testimony indicated there was cocaine in the safe but forensic tests could find no traces of drugs in the safe and investigators found no proof there were any drugs in the house.
The court proceeding has now broken for a lunch recess. It is being conducted in Dutch with the help of an interpreter. There are no witnesses, however, most of the morning consisted of the judge directly questioning the suspects.
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