Short-fused cab driver gets community service

POSTED: 08/9/12 12:14 PM

St. Maarten – Cab driver Jelon Allan Fowler does not get along with one of his neighbors because the man often blocks his driveway with his car. That led to threatening confrontations on April 18 and again on May 26. Prosecutor Dounia Benammar demanded a 6-month prison sentence and 150 hours of community service against the defendant. Judge Tamara Tijhuis settled for a 3-month conditional sentence and 120 hours of community service. The court imposed the standard probation period of 2 years.
Fowler, 29, denied in court that he had threatened his neighbor with words like “I am going inside for my gun,” and “I am going to kill you.”
But when everything was said and done, Jude Tijhuis found Fowler guilty, and considered proven that he had threatened his parking-foe with words like, “I’m going to blaze you,”,. I’m going to shoot you,” and, last but not least, “I’m going to fucking kill you.”

Prosecutor Benammar said that the defendant had gotten extremely excited about the parking problem. On May 26 he came out of his house holding two knives. “The fact that the defendant does not have a gun and that he did not touch his neighbor with the knives is irrelevant. He has not been charged with that. But he did threaten the victim, and that does not belong in our community.”

Defense attorney Geert Hatzmann did not argue about the facts. Instead, he focused on his client’s record. “Other than most of the men on this island he takes care of his children, and he works for his money. He is an honest hard working citizen, but he has a short fuse. But he is not telling tall stories here. Is that worth a conditional prison sentence? I don’t think so. The demand is much too high. And how is he going to combine community service with his work? He’d rather pay a fine. It is important to notice that he does not have a police record and that he has understood the message.”

But Judge Tijhuis thought that fowler’s reactions had been totally disproportional. “It is understandable that you get irritated when somebody else’s car is constantly in the way, but you should have reacted differently,” she said. “A short fuse, as your lawyer said, that sums it up nicely. You are downplaying what happened, but I do accept that you learned your lesson.”

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