~ 23-year old killed attendant in cold blood ~
By Today Newspaper
GREAT BAY – Runald Orlando R. is facing 25 years of imprisonment for the armed robbery on November 20 of last year at the Tackling gas station in Cole Bay where he brutally rook the life of attendant Sauveur Gerard. His partner in crime, Brendon Alberto D. is facing 15 years.
The two suspects sat handcuffed through the trial that lasted from yesterday morning 9 a.m. until 1.30 p.m. Members of the arrest team were in court to guard the two 23-year olds.
The court showed video footage of the robbery that shows how Runald R. approached the gas station attendant and demanded money. When the man refused, R. shot him once and when the victim ran away, he followed him, got into a scuffle and then fired from close range two more shots, one of which hits the victim in his head. He died on the spot.
- cold-bloodedly turned the body of his victim around and went through his pockets, taking $1,370.
The robbers were not done yet; after the deadly robbery at the Tackling gas station on Union Road, where they went to the Sol gas station on the airport road. There, R. threatened the gas station attendant with a gun and demanded money. The man handed over $1,439 whereupon he fled in the car driven by Brendon D.
A customer at the gas station jumped in his truck and pursued the robbers and even managed to corner their car, but when R. came out of his car with his weapon drawn, the man hid behind his car. The robber took the keys from the ignition and continued his flight. However, shortly afterwards the two men were arrested by the police.
The suspects did not take any responsibility for the actions they allegedly undertook. “I don’t know anything about this. I was not there,” R. wanted the court to believe.
At a certain moment, Brendon D., got upset with the stories his co-suspect was telling the court about his involvement. “I don’t know what this guy is trying to do, but he is putting the blame on me.”
After the court had shown the shocking video of the robbery at the gas station at Union road, prosecutor Karola van Nie asked the suspects what they felt after seeing the images. “I was not there,” Runald R. said, while Brendon D., who was not at the gas station, but waiting in a car nearby, mumbled, “I can’t believe this.”
Investigators found blood belonging to the victim on the shorts Runald R. was wearing when he was arrested shortly after the two robberies. R. confessed to the police that the gun used during the robbery was his; in court he claimed that he had said this at the request of Brendon D.
Remarkably, the gun only contained traces of DNA from the victim. “There was so much blood on the weapon, that it was impossible to find DNA from the suspect,” prosecutor Van Nie said. The blood had even seeped into the revolver’s cylinder onto the bullets.
The prosecutor pointed out that police had found money in the car of the suspects consistent with the banknotes that had been robbed during the second robbery.
Van Nie considered for Runald R. qualified manslaughter on Gerard proven, as well as extortion of the gas station attendant in Simpson Bay and firearm possession.
The prosecution considers Brendon D. an accessory to the robbery on Union Road and an accomplice to the second robbery.
Attorney Safira Ibrahim said that there is insufficient evidence to convict her client Runald R. “There has not been a photo confrontation and he was not wearing a white tee shirt as the robber did when he was arrested. There is no DNA on the weapon and the statements made by Brendon D. are questionable.”
Ibrahim asked the court to acquit her client on all counts.
Attorney Sharia Bommel put in the same request for her client Brendon D. “According to the Supreme Court, not driving away from a crime is insufficient to prove complicity,” she said. “That he was there does not mean that he was involved.”
Both attorneys asked the court to reject a claim from Tackling for $6,000 in damages, being the money they had advanced for the funeral arrangements of their employee, because it is unclear how much SZV contributed to these costs.
Judge Yvonne Vanwersch will pronounce the verdicts in both cases on June 8.