Four convicted in beating of gay American tourists in St. Maarten

Four French nationals were convicted and sentenced to up to six years in prison for beating two gay American tourists on this Dutch Caribbean in a brutal attack that left one of the victims with brain damage.

The tourists Ryan Smith and Richard Jefferson were employees of CBS News in New York at the time of the tire-iron attack.

On Thursday, three citizens of the island's French half Glen Cockly, Micheline Delaney and Allan Daniel and a man from the nearby French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Michel Javois, were found guilty of public violence and grievous bodily harm by Judge Jan Bosch.

Bosch determined that Javois, nicknamed "Duracell," was the one who assaulted Smith and Jefferson with a tire iron as they left a bar with friends on April 6 while vacationing in St. Maarten.

Smith suffered brain damage and was unable to speak properly for months. Jefferson's skull was cracked.

Javois, who led the others in the attack, received a six-year prison sentence, while Cockly and Daniel got three-year terms.

"They received the lesser amount because they kicked and threw punches but did not use the tire iron in the attack," said Public Prosecutor Taco Stein, who had sought a conviction of attempted murder against Javois.

Delaney, accused of kicking one of the victims while he was on the ground, will spend six months incarcerated. Stein said she tried to stop the attack and had expressed remorse.

Javois has denied any involvement in the attack and continues to maintain his innocence. The other three claimed they all had only minor roles in the incident.

Jefferson, a senior broadcast producer for the weekend edition of the CBS evening news, had described the attack as a hate crime. He welcomed the verdict but questioned whether the prison terms were enough, reports AP.

"Is six years, or three years, or six months, the proper penalty for permanently changing the lives of two tourists who came to the 'Friendly Island,"' he wrote in a statement, referring to how the island bills itself. "Instead of friendliness, a pack of residents greeted us, as the judge noted, with vicious discrimination and contempt that almost killed us."

Stein said the crime was not about the men's sexuality.

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