4 Convicted in Attack on Gay U.S. Tourists in St. Maarten
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – Four French nationals were convicted Thursday of beating two gay American tourists in this Dutch Caribbean island and given prison sentences of three to six years. The tire iron attack seriously damaged the brain of one of the victims, an employee of the CBS News show 48 Hours.
Three citizens of the island's French half — Glen Cockly, Micheline Delaney and Allan Daniel — and a man from the nearby French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Michel Javois, were found guilty of public violence and grievous bodily harm by Judge Jan Bosch.
Bosch determined that Javois, nicknamed "Duracell," was the one who assailed Ryan Smith and Richard Jefferson — who at the time were employees of CBS News in New York — with a tire iron as they left a bar with friends on April 6 while vacationing in St. Maarten.
Smith suffered brain damage and was unable to speak properly for months. Jefferson's skull was cracked by a blow from tire iron.
Javois, who led the others in the attack, received a six-year prison sentence, while Cockly and Daniel got three-year terms.
"They received the lesser amount because they kicked and threw punches but did not use the tire iron in the attack," said Public Prosecutor Taco Stein.
Delaney, who was accused of kicking one of the victims while he was on the ground, will spend six months incarcerated. Stein said she tried to stop the attack and had expressed remorse.
Jefferson, who returned to the island to give authorities his account of the attack, had described the attack as a hate crime. He was not in St. Maarten for the trial and declined to immediately comment when reached by telephone.
"Being gay was not the issue here," Stein said. "But meaningless violence to annoy other people. These suspects were out there to cause trouble."
The island, a popular Caribbean tourist destination, is shared by France and the Netherlands.