The lawyer for a 26-year-old man accused of fatally shooting two young men in Georgia said Wednesday he will fight extradition because he believes his client will not receive a fair trial in the southern U.S. state.
Michael Registe is accused of the July 20, 2007 execution-style killings of two college students in Columbus, Georgia's third-largest city. His St. Maarten-based attorney, Remco Stomp, claims he would not be treated fairly in Georgia's courts because he is black.
"Registe will not get a fair trial in Georgia as a black man suspected of killing two white college kids. We will do everything possible to guarantee his human rights," Stomp said in this Dutch Caribbean territory.
Allegedly killed by Registe were Randy Newton Jr., 21, and Bryan Kilgore, 20.
Registe fled the U.S. and was captured Aug. 27 in St. Maarten, where he has been jailed in Pointe Blanche Prison.
Prosecutors have not said what they believe Registe's alleged motive was for the slayings.
The Supreme Court of the Netherlands has ruled that Registe can be returned to the U.S. from St. Maarten. As a requirement for extradition, former District Attorney Gray Conger of Columbus had to agree not to pursue the death penalty.
But Stomp does not believe that pact would be honored, and wants a trial in the Dutch Caribbean.
"If he is tried in our system he would have a lot more guarantees," the defense lawyer said.
Frits Goedgedrag, governor of the Netherlands Antilles, a chain of islands that includes St. Maarten, is expected to make an announcement about the pending extradition in coming days.