2 Arrests In Beating Of CBS Newsmen

jefferson CBS

Authorities in St. Maarten say a man and a woman have surrendered to police in connection with an attack last month on two CBS News employees who were on vacation from New York. The victims say their attackers shouted anti-gay slurs.

The two, who were arrested on Saturday, are suspected of inflicting grievous bodily harm and attempted manslaughter in the April 6 attack, according to Taco Stein, St. Maarten's chief prosecutor.

Stein declined to release the names of the suspects, who both live in St. Martin, the French side of the island. St. Maarten, the other half of the island, is Dutch. The two countries share the island, which is a popular Caribbean tourist destination.

A third suspect - another man from St. Martin - was arrested in mid-April. Stein says authorities will probably make more arrests.

The victims - Dick Jefferson, a senior producer at CBS News, and Ryan Smith, a production secretary at CBS News - were outside a bar in St. Maarten with a group of friends when they were beaten by attackers they say were yelling anti-gay slurs.

Both victims were airlifted to Miami for medical treatment; Jefferson was later released from the hospital and returned to work. Smith, who was more seriously injured, is being treated for brain damage and is still in the hospital.

In a letter to friends, Smith says he intends to make a complete recovery.

"The night of the attempted murder, the attackers verbally assaulted me and my friends, hit me with a chair with the intent to do bodily harm, and left me with no doubt that the monsters had every intention of killing me and friends outside the bar," he said in the letter, written on Monday.

Smith could not read, write or understand what people were saying for more than two weeks after brain surgery, but "decided early on in the healing process that I would not let the killers have the power to determine my destiny ... I have every intention to do whatever I can to reach a full recovery, and I know the cards are in my favor," he wrote.
  • Gina Pace

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