PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) - Prosecutors in St Maarten announced Monday that a Jamaican man is the lone suspect in the slayings of a South Carolina couple who were found murdered in their beachfront condominium on the tiny Dutch Caribbean territory.
A Monday evening statement by public prosecutors identified the Jamaican by his initials, M K J. It is customary in the Dutch islands’ legal system to only refer to criminal suspects by their initials.
The 28-year-old man is so far the only suspect in the slayings of Michael and Thelma King of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Their bodies were found Friday in their condominium in the Dutch territory of 50,000 people that shares a small island with the French dependency of St Martin.
Authorities have said the couple appeared to have suffered fatal stab wounds. The woman was found tied to a chair, and the man was lying on the floor, partially over an overturned chair. They were both in their 50s.
Prosecutors said autopsies were conducted Monday on the bodies of the Kings, but preliminary results will not be publicly released yet. They expect to release the bodies Tuesday to relatives who have arrived in the Caribbean territory.
Prosecutors said the Jamaican suspect “heavily resisted his arrest, wounding a police officer” during a pre-dawn Sunday operation by law enforcers.
“He has been cooperative to a certain extent but was reluctant to answer critical questions,” prosecutors said.
It was not clear if the suspect has a lawyer. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday. Law enforcement officials in Jamaica said Monday evening they were not aware that one of the country’s nationals was a double-murder suspect in St. Maarten.
Local law allows for pre-trial detention while authorities investigate a crime. Prosecutors have three days after an arrest to present enough evidence to a judge in order to prolong any detention without charges.
During the last couple of days, people on St Maarten have been buzzing with rumours that a Jamaican security guard was the murder suspect.