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30 years requested for Gumbs’ killer

page3c214~Appeal Court to rule February 11~

PHILIPSBURG--The Solicitor General asked the Appeal Court on Wednesday to impose the maximum prison sentence of 30 years upon Devon C. Otto (29), whom he held responsible, among other crimes, for the murder of Stanley Gumbs.

Gumbs (21) was shot and killed on March 31, 2008, outside an adult entertainment centre in Sucker Garden.

Solicitor General Ton van der Schans said Wednesday the Prosecutor’s Office was not satisfied with the 24-year sentence imposed by the Court of First Instance on September 1, 2009. The Solicitor General said the severity of the crimes committed would justify imprisonment for life, but in order not to take all opportunities away from the suspect he would ask for 30 years instead.

Otto is also appealing his conviction. He is upholding his innocence in most of the cases, and stated that he didn’t kill anybody.

Otto is not only charged with having shot and killed Gumbs in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity, but also with attempted manslaughter, threatening with a firearm, theft with violence imposed on American tourists in the vicinity of a popular nightclub in Simpson Bay, and threatening a police officer and two members of the Voluntary Corps VKS. All these crimes were committed in March and April 2008.

The case against Otto started in December 2007, when the French authorities requested his arrest and extradition for armed robbery and rape committed in French St. Martin.

Otto was arrested in a house in St. Peters in April 2008. A Ruger firearm and ammunition were found during a search. Police investigations revealed that Gumbs had been shot and killed with bullets fired by a Ruger P95.

Otto, however, denied the gun was his. He told the three judges of the Joint Court that he had received the gun from a friend one day before his arrest.

According to the Solicitor General, Gumbs’ murder was a “deliberate liquidation,” while in his eyes, Otto had also exerted “severe violence” in the other crimes.

Otto, with his feet shackled during the entire hearing, said false statements were made against him. He flatly denied any involvement in the Gumbs murder, and said he had not played a major role in the other crimes. Otto admitted that he had been at the scene of the crimes, but said he had not played an active role.

Attorney-at-law Shaira Bommel considered her client’s sentence to be far too high. “My client knows that he had done things that are wrong, but feels that certain crimes are being pinned on him.” She specifically mentioned that her client had not been involved in the attempted murder case of March 21, 2008, during which a man was shot in his chin. The Court will present its ruling on February 11.

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