Estika Halley’s attacker still claims innocence in first appeals hearing

November 3, 2023  -Daily Herald News -PHILIPSBURG–Flanked by a squad of heavily armed Alpha Team officers, a shackled and blindfolded Marlon Brooks (39) was led into the Appeals Court on Thursday and claimed he was innocent of slashing Estika Halley’s throat and leaving her for dead in the early morning hours of July 31, 2022.

Earlier this year the lower court sentenced Brooks to 16 years in prison for attempted murder. Thursday was the first hearing in Brooks’ appeal of this verdict, but the date for the appeal trial is not yet known.

“I’m not the one who did it,” Brooks told the panel of three appellate judges on Thursday.

In the next part of the appeal procedure, Brooks’ lawyer Shaira Bommel is tasked with formulating written requests for further investigation. If she has any, the prosecutor will respond to these in writing.

The next hearing in this case has been set for February 15, 2024, during which the judges will decide whether to honour Bommel’s petitions. A future trial date may also be set at this hearing.

In its verdict in July, the lower court considered it proven that Brooks had broken into Halley’s car on the night of the attack, hid for an hour-and-a-half, and assaulted her as she was driving home from her boyfriend’s house around 3:40am.

Halley managed to get out of the car, but Brooks chased her down near Emerald Funeral Home in Cay Hill.

He slashed her throat first, followed by cuts to her neck, back, belly and breast. She also got cut on her hands and fingers trying to fend off the bigger, stronger Brooks.

While Halley lay on her belly, Brooks pulled her behind a car that was parked near the funeral home and slit both her ankles to prevent her from getting away.

In the lower court trial it was immediately clear that Brooks was the perpetrator. Halley wrote his name in blood on a hearse immediately after the attack, wrote his name down for police when she was in the hospital and testified that she had recognised Brooks. There was also evidence from surveillance cameras and mobile phone tracking data that linked Brooks to Halley’s parked car.

Brooks and Halley had previously had a sexual relationship. However, for Halley their relationship was over and she had told Brooks about her new boyfriend when she returned to St. Maarten after living in the Netherlands for a year. During that year, Halley and Brooks were in daily contact via WhatsApp.

They went out for pizza less than a week before the brutal attack, together with Halley’s infant daughter. Halley talked openly about the new man in her life and Brooks knew where to locate him.

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