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Recaptured fugitives committed to stand trial in the High Court

From left to right: Ron Mitchell, Atiba Stanislaus & Trevon Robertson

The three St. Andrew men linked to the killing of two American yachties in February have been formally indicted and are set to stand trial in the High Court on an array of charges in a decision handed down Tuesday by Chief Magistrate Francine Foster at the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court.

Ron Mitchell, a 30-year-old sailor, Atiba Stanislaus, a 25-year-old farmer and Trevon Robertson, a 23-year-old unemployed man were captured in neighbouring St. Vincent and the Grenadines approximately three (3) days after their daring escape from the St. George’s Police Station on February 18.

On escaping custody, the prisoners who are from Paradise in St Andrew allegedly hijacked a catamaran named ‘Simplicity,’ owned by U.S couple Ralph Hendry, 66, and Kathy Brandell, 71, and “confessed” to Vincentian police that they had killed them and threw the bodies into the open sea.

The trio are facing charges such as escaping lawful custody, housebreaking, rape, and two counts of capital murder.

Attorney Jerry Edwin, who is representing them in the indictable matter, has opted for a paper committal process to transfer the matter to the High Court, noting that prolonging the case in the lower court would be unnecessary and could delay proceedings for years.

This method circumvents a Preliminary Inquiry, enabling the Magistrate to review the charges and evidence directly, ensuring there is enough basis for a High Court trial.

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The escape of the suspects occurred just before their scheduled appearance in a St. George’s Magistrate on charges of robbery with violence and rape.

Attorney Edwin has confirmed that the men have since pleaded guilty to summary offenses committed prior to their escape in February, and are now awaiting sentencing in the Magistrate’s Court.

The Supreme Court is now expected to schedule a date at its next sitting for the start of the trial on the indictment against the three who remain on remand at the Richmond Hill Prison.

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