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Otto undergoes emergency surgery after severe chopping at prison Saturday

DEVONOTTO

~ Two inmates held ~

POINTE BLANCHE–Murder suspect Devon Otto underwent emergency surgery at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) after being severely chopped about the body between 9:30 and 9:45am on Saturday at the Pointe Blanche prison where he was incarcerated on a thirty-year sentence.

Prison Director Edward “Tony” Rohan told The Daily Herald on Sunday that the injuries Otto had sustained were “very serious,” but noted that the surgery had been successful.

Otto had sustained chops to his head, arms and legs. Witnesses who saw him being rushed into the Emergency Room mid-morning Saturday, said it was a gruesome sight as “there was blood everywhere” and his flesh had been hanging from his skin on his hands indicating deep wounds.

Rohan said Otto had been returning from taking fresh air when two inmates saw an opportunity and attacked him and started chopping him with “self-made” machetes. He said two weapons had been uncovered, but only one had blood. The incident occurred on the outer part of the wing. “He was very seriously chopped up. It was pretty heavy, to make a long story short,” Rohan said.

The two persons who were involved in the incident were detained immediately and are now being held at the police station as investigation into the incident continues. Rohan declined to name the two suspects, but indicated that one of the men was preparing to be released as early as next month.

Asked what the prison would do to see to it that such an incident does not recur, Rohan said security would be beefed up, but he noted that the situation was difficult, as the facility is facing issues such as staff shortages. “We are taking a lot of measures at the prison. Some people say it doesn’t seem so, but we have a small prison and every day we try to move prisoners because one cannot be in contact with the other and it’s sometimes a big puzzle.”

“We will tighten the security more and hope that this doesn’t happen anymore,” he said. “Everyone knows that we are short-staffed as well and there is a lot of work that we have to do with a small amount of people.

“As prison director you are responsible for all these people, including staff, and it’s very, very difficult. You try to protect everyone and ensure that everything goes safe and that’s why we are talking with everyone to get a new prison and something bigger to be able to separate prisoners from each other.”

He said Otto had encountered problems in the prison system here as well as in Curaçao before and had been sent to The Netherlands. He was brought back to St. Maarten for his trial, but as soon as this is over he will be sent back to a high security prison facility in The Netherlands. Rohan said he had already had discussions about this with former justice minister Roland Duncan.

Otto is serving a 30-year sentence for the March 2008 murder of Census Office employee Stanley Gumbs, attempted murder of Louis “Sticky” Richardson in 2008 and for robbing three American tourists that same year. He is appealing an unrelated nine-year conviction for a shooting at a prison in Curaçao.

Otto’s unruly behaviour following his incarceration at the Pointe Blanche prison prompted prison authorities to move him to a prison in Curaçao. While in prison there Otto used a Smith and Wesson .38 calibre handgun to shoot fellow inmate Lysandro Alvin Kani, hitting him in his left eye, neck, chest and arm, while another shot hit an artery in the right upper leg of inmate Steven Ansel Servanie. This occurred on September 13, 2011.

The court sentenced Otto for attempted murder of Lysandro Kani, for attempted manslaughter of Steven Servanie and for firearm possession. He was sentenced for these incidents, but is appealing the conviction.

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