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Man gets 18 years for double murder

PHILIPSBURG--Rodriguez Leonel Prosper Weinum (34) was sentenced to 18 years on Friday. The Judge said there was sufficient evidence for his involvement in the homicide of Antoine M. Whit (25) of France and M.A. Torres Cleman (21) of the Dominican Republic on December 9, 2012, near Son Latino nightclub on A.Th. Illidge Road.

During the January 10 hearing, Prosecutor Tineke Kamps said she was convinced that Weinum had been an accomplice in two murders. She had requested the Court to send him to prison for 18 years.

The Court found it proven that Weinum had been among the group of people who had become involved in a fight with the late victims Whit and Torres Cleman outside the nightclub around 4:00am.

According to Judge Koos van de Ven, Weinum had been actively involved in the fight. Upon request of one of the main suspects, named "Primo," he took a calibre .3 revolver from his rental car. Primo had fired at least four gunshots with this weapon. Two bullets hit Whit's head and two other bullets ended up in his car.

The defendant then stepped into his rental car together with co-suspects Primo, "Papa/Bimbo" and S.G. and drove off, the Judge said. Shortly thereafter, the car stopped again. Primo then stepped out of the car to beat the other victim to death with the butt of the revolver. After that, the car drove off at high speed with Weinum still at the wheel. The Judge said these events were testimony to the fact that Weinum had been an accessory to these two murders.

Weinum had provided differing statements concerning his role that night. He told the Judge he had been sleeping in his car when the gunshots were fired and claimed he had been forced to drive the culprits from the crime scene under duress.

However, many witnesses stated that Weinum had been in the company of the perpetrators during the entire evening.

A number of witnesses had also testified that he had held a gun in his hand during the fight outside the nightclub. However, the Court did not consider it proven that Weinum had also used the weapon, for lack of evidence.

Weinum's attorney Shaira Bommel had said there was insufficient evidence of her client's involvement in the fights and had pleaded for his acquittal.

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