Published On: Mon, Feb 21st, 2022

Court postpones decision about Ashton Lake’s release

PHILIPSBURG — The Common Court of Justice wants to hear two members of the Velasquez-family before it takes a decision about Ashton Lake’s request for early release. Lake is currently serving a life sentence for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 5-year old Amy Velasquez on August 27, 1983. The now 59-year old convict is legally entitled to a review of his sentence.

On February 17, the court issued an interim-ruling. It states that Amy’s father Bobby Velasquez made his position about Lake’s request known during a court hearing on January 22. However, Amy’s mother Ruth and her sister Jennifer were unaware of this court hearing.

In an email they sent to the court on January 28, Ruth and Jennifer Velasquez indicated that they want to be heard by the court as well.

The solicitor-general asked the court to reopen the investigation, because this email shows that Amy’s father’s position is not, or not completely, supported by other family members.

The solicitor-general also asked for more information about care and assistance facilities in Anguilla. Lake was born in Anguilla and, if the court decides to grant him early release, he will be sent back to that island. A representative of the prosecutor’s office traveled to Anguilla on February 9 to gather information about these issues.

Lake’s attorney Shaira Bommel objected to the reopening of the investigation because, in her opinion, Lake has already served the retribution-part of his sentence and because he is no longer a risk to the community: “There is no longer reason to keep my client detained, considering the reports experts wrote about him. The feelings of retribution of the family do not play a role anymore.”

The court disagreed. “When the court considers whether someone serving a life sentence can be conditionally released, the position of the victim’s family has to be taken into account.”

The court decided to reopen the investigation and to hear the position of the earlier mentioned family members, Amy’s mother Ruth and her sister Jennifer. The solicitor-general will have the opportunity to provide information about the care and assistance facilities in Anguilla.

The next court hearing is set for March 9. The court will take its decision the same day.

Jennifer Velasquez strongly opposes Lake’s release. “No one has forgotten and no one has felt safe since Amy’s murder. He can never be freed and continue this fear. He is a monster,” she stated to StMaartenNews.com earlier this month.

Read this article here: Doing justice to Amy’s legacy

To protect her little sister’s legacy, and to prevent Lake from getting out of prison, Jennifer Velasquez started a petition on change.org.

On February 1, the petition had slightly more than 3,000 signatures. As of February 19, the number of signatures had increased to 4,044.

“My sister deserves justice and this monster deserves to be locked up forever,” Velasquez posted on the petition-web site.


Related article: Doing justice to Amy’s legacy