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Prosecutor: Suspect admits role in slayings of SC couple in St. Maarten

St. Marteen suspect

By Michael Martinez and Tristan Smith, CNN

(CNN) -A 28-year-old Jamaican-born man has confessed to his involvement in the stabbing deaths of an American couple on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

The suspect, whom authorities have identified only by his initials M.K.J., has also confessed involvement to a robbery of a restaurant last month, said General Solicitor Taco Stein.

The suspect had previously denied any involvement in the killings last month of Michael and Thelma King, of South Carolina, at their oceanfront residence in Cupecoy, a beach town on the southwest tip of the Dutch island nation. Their bodies were discovered September 21, authorities said.

The suspect appeared before a judge Wednesday, who granted the prosecution’s request for a pretrial detention of eight days for the suspect, Stein told CNN.

Investigators are now working to confirm the details of the suspect’s statements and are gathering additional evidence to present in court, Stein said.

A second suspect in custody in the Kings’ murders has been identified as a 17-year-old man with the initials of J.C.M., Stein said. He hasn’t confessed to any involvement in the slayings and will appear in court Thursday for a pretrial detention hearing, Stein said.

St. Maarten is a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, whose economy is based on the tourism industry. More than 1 million tourists visit the island each year.

The killings occurred in what is generally considered a safe area that is popular with tourists, according to the solicitor general.

Investigators believe the murders took place during a robbery of the Kings, Stein said.