PHILIPSBURG--The Joint Court of Justice on Wednesday acquitted 25-year-old Romaine Walters of involvement in the shooting and killing of L. Cuevas (41) during a violent robbery on Boxing Day, December 26, 2011.
The Court of First Instance held Walters for the killer and sentenced him to 11 years and six months, but he appealed the verdict of June 18. On that same date, co-defendant Bryan G. Henson (31) was sentenced in absentia to 27 months.
The Dominicano man was shot dead outside his home on Welfare Road in an alley in the vicinity of Ace hardware store. He sustained shots in his abdomen, collapsed face down and died on the spot in what is believed to have been a rip-deal involving money and cocaine.
In the appeal case, the Prosecutor’s Office charged Walters with murder, attempted robbery, and possession of an illegal firearm. Walters was chased by the police and apprehended on January 1, 2012. He was found in possession of a semi-automatic pistol.
From ballistic investigation by the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) on a bullet casing that was found at the crime scene, it emerged it was more likely that the bullet was fired with suspect’s gun than with a similar weapon.
The perpetrator of the shooting was seen by two witnesses, but neither witness could provide a positive identification.
In its conclusion, the Appeals Court stated that there were “indications” that Walters may have been involved in the armed robbery. However, the Court did not find any convincing evidence in the case file that he had been Cuevas’ killer. It was, therefore, not held for impossible that somebody else had committed the crime.
There may have been contact via telephone between Walters and Henson shortly after the liquidation, but this did not alter the Court’s conclusion.
Attorney Sjamira Roseburg of Sulvaran and Peterson law office said she was “delighted” with her client’s acquittal.