WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao — Elvis Kuwas, the principal suspect in last year’s assassination of Curaçao political leader Helmin Wiels, has been found guilty of three contract killings, including Weils’ murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment, the maximum penalty sought by the public prosecutor.
Kuwas was also found guilty by the investigating judge on Friday morning of the murders of Lionel Arnaud on June 8, 2012, and Raikel Conception on January 27, 2013, both in Curaçao.
The judge described Kuwas as unscrupulous and ruthless. His life imprisonment may be modified after 20 years if Kuwas is no longer seen as a danger to society, as is now the case, according to the judge.
However, the judge found that the public prosecutor did not prove that two other suspects, Carlos Pieter and Dangelo Damascus, participated in Wiels’ murder.
Damascus was nevertheless convicted of two armed robberies and possession of illegal firearms and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. Pieter was found to have been involved in one of the armed robberies with Damascus and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
Meanwhile, authorities in Curaçao are seeking the extradition of Kenneth Godwin from the United States to face charges in the Wiels murder case. However, his attorney says he might be murdered if he is sent back to Curaçao.
Two other suspects in the case both died in mysterious circumstances — one was poisoned in jail, and the other hanged himself in his cell.
An extradition hearing that was scheduled for Friday in front of US Magistrate Judge Joseph Wilkinson in New Orleans has been postponed to October, according to court records.
Helmin Magno Wiels was murdered on May 5, 2013. He was a leftist politician,anti-corruption activist and social worker from Curaçao. He served as a chairman of Pueblo Soberano and was a vocal campaigner for Curaçao’s independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
This article originally appeared on Caribbean News Now, a republishing partner of the Antillean Media Group