St. Maarten murder trial postponed
The trial for the three men accused in St. Maarten of killing a Mount Pleasant couple has been postponed, according to prosecutors in that country.
In December, Solicitor General Taco Stein said that the trial had been scheduled to begin Jan. 22, but Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos told The Post and Courier on Friday that there is still investigative work to be completed before the trial can take place.
Psychiatric testing on all three suspects connected to the killings has not been completed, according to Mos. All three suspects will still appear before a judge Jan. 22, when defense attorneys can make further requests for investigation.
“It’s likely the case won’t be in court before March, depending on the amount of requests on the 22nd,” Mos said.
All three suspects will be tried at once, and the proceeding, conducted entirely in Dutch, is expected to last up to two days, Stein has said. The case will be presented to a judge who will render a verdict. No jury is involved, Stein has said.
The suspects will remain in custody until their trial, Mos said. Investigators have also conducted DNA testing but have not received the results yet, he said.
“The suspects have been pretty cooperative to a certain extent,” Mos said.
Thelma and Michael King were found Sept. 21 in their condominium at the Ocean Club Resort on St. Maarten, a 16-square-mile territory with about 50,000 inhabitants that shares a small island with the French dependency of St. Martin.
Mos has said Thelma King, 57, was found tied to a chair, and Michael King, 53, was lying on the floor, partially over an overturned chair.
Island police arrested the first suspect two days after the killings. Privacy rules prevent St. Maarten authorities from naming suspects, but multiple island media outlets have identified one as Meyshane Kemar Johnson, a 28-year-old Jamaican working as a security guard. Authorities reportedly found Michael King’s credit cards and cellphone inside the getaway car used in another robbery.
Also detained in the killings are 17-year-old Jeremiah Chevon Mills and Jamal Jefferson Woolford, a 20-year-old Guyanese national, authorities said.
Johnson has confessed to his role in the killing, Stein and other authorities have said.
Glenn Smith contributed to this report. Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.