3 tourists cleared in St. Maarten burglar death
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) — A group of U.S. and Swedish tourists who caught a man breaking into their rented villa and held him in a chokehold that led to his death will not be prosecuted, officials announced Friday.
The three tourists had been staying in the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten when three men broke in on Jan. 29, police said. Two of the suspects escaped, but a third one was caught and held until police arrived, according to public prosecutor Tineke Kamps.
An autopsy found that the man died from suffocation but showed few signs of external violence, she said.
“The public prosecutor has reviewed the case as a tragic accident,” she said.
The family of the suspect who died could not be immediately reached for comment.
Kamps told The Associated Press that two of the tourists were from Sweden and one from the U.S. She declined to identify them or say who held the man down, noting that the suspect struggled forcefully. Police had said earlier that the two other suspects tried to free the man by throwing stones at the tourists.
She said prosecutors discussed the role that self-defense played in the man’s death and concluded that prosecution was not “feasible or desirable.”