“I am a man of faith. And I am a just man.” So said a clearly exhausted but surprisingly serene Eugene St Romain following his release on bail Thursday morning, after a 9-year stint at the Bordelais Correctional Facility. St Romain has been awaiting a trial date for the highly publicized 2002 rape and murder of his 13-year-old stepdaughter Verlinda Joseph.
The case drew national headlines and sparked public outrage as details emerged of the young victim’s ongoing struggle with sexual abuse in the years before her tragic demise.
On April 4, 2004, St Romain was charged with the crime. Eight years passed before he was granted bail in May 2012. But he was unable to raise the required $60,000. This week Romaine’s lawyer Martinus François confirmed an unidentified “charitable organization” in Canada had come to Romain’s assistance.
Commenting on the violation of what he described as his client’s human rights, François repeated over and
over that “actions speak louder than words and I’ve proved it” .
He said he planned to seek compensation for the “decidedly unjust treatment of St Romain by the judicial system.”
“They’re gonna pay him for every day he spent at Bordelais. Trust me on that,” Francois went on. “That’s part of my case!”
St Romain had little to say for himself as he savored freedom. When asked about the ordeal, he was surprisingly calm and introspective.
“I don’t make it an issue for me right now. I’m okay. Well, I am upset but for the time being my lawyer will handle everything. I don’t
have anything to worry about. It’s been difficult but life goes on. I am a strong person and I have patience and faith in myself.”
St Romain is also unconcerned with a potentially negative reception in society.
“I am an innocent man so why should I fear for myself or fear for my life? I mean my freedom has been taken away for a while. I won’t make an issue out of it.”
St Romain’s family, who he credited with providing ample support, was once again at his side as he took another step in his quest for exoneration. The accused’s mother Coecelia St Romain shares her son’s positive outlook.
“I have no concern .I have no fear about it. I’m happy and proud of Mr Martinus and I am thanking him one more time.”
His sister, Anna Stephen, expressed relief at having her brother back in the fold for the time being. She is eager to leave the past in the rear view mirror.
“We’re just hoping that this doesn’t delay in court because we need to put this behind us and move on with our lives. Because it was pressure on all of us and at the end of the day I always say who feels it knows it. It’s my niece so I loved her. She’s part of us so everybody that has family should know how it is when you’ve lost a loved one in that manner.”
Like her brother, Stephen does not fear vigilante justice.
“I guess if there is any law in this country it’s supposed to be for everybody. If anybody wants to take the law in
their own hands it’s all up to them. The law will deal with them. Whatever is done already we cannot undo it.
My brother lost nine long years of his life in there. My niece is gone still so we just have to keep praying and God will be the judge at the end of the day.”
Stephen remains hopeful that Verlinda’s murderer will be prosecuted but in the interim is jubilant about her relative’s release, and wishes others would not suffer the same fate.
“It was way past time. That was a lot of frustration. We had to be leaving work, coming to court. Most times you come these people on adjournment. So I don’t know what’s wrong but they should really get their act together and try not to delay cases as long as this. Even if it’s not my brother’s, but for everybody else.”
According to his attorney, St Romain is next due to appear in court this September.