Tue, 16 Aug 1994

Fifteen-year-old student nabbed for killing taxi driver

JAKARTA (JP): After a year long search, police announced yesterday that they have captured a junior high school student who allegedly stole an Express taxi in East Jakarta and then killed the driver.

The suspect, identified as Henri Roice Butar-Butar, 15, a second grader at the Slamet Riyadi junior high school, in Cijantung district, East Jakarta, was arrested on Aug. 2, in his parents' house in Cimanggis district, also in East Jakarta.

He was said to have committed the murder along with David Suatan, 15, around 9 p.m. on June 14, 1993 at the air force housing complex in Cimanggis subdistrict, Bogor.

David is still at large.

But Lt. Col. Latief Rabar, a spokesman for City Police, said it was only a matter of time before the capture of David because his hideout is known.

Henri is the oldest son of an elementary school teacher whose mother was widowed when he was two years old, while David lived for years with his stepmother.

According to Latief, the boys initially intended to rob a house to get some pocket money.

But, David later changed the plan, proposing instead to rob a taxi, where, he said, they could get more and no longer act like a children but more like adults.

Both challenged each other's bravery to see if either had the nerve to murder their would-be prey like adult criminals.

Henri took up the assignment of stabbing the cab driver with a badik (traditional knife), while David of choking the driver with a long piece of cloth from behind.


In the evening, they stopped an Express taxi driven by part- timer Saleh, 30, near the Cibubur fountain. The driver was a native from Kali Pucang village, Brebes regency, Central Java.

Saleh took the suspects to the air force housing complex, where the driver was repeatedly stabbed in the stomach by Henri, while David choked him with the prepared cloth before taking his turn to stab Saleh to death.

After picking up Saleh's Rp 50,000 (US$23.2) income from the glove box and his pocket which contained an ID, they dumped the driver's body into some bushes.

The suspects then drove the taxi to Bogor. On the following day the two drove to school in the stolen taxi.

Two days later the suspects returned to their school, still with the stolen taxi, when registration of new students for the 1993 school year was being held.

Thinking that the school's principal was in receipt of a lot of money due to the student registration, the suspects broke into the room after breaking open the door.

The suspects were caught red-handed by the teachers, who turned them over to police.

East Jakarta police soon prepared the dossiers of the theft case, but only during their trials at the East Jakarta court did they become aware that the suspects had also committed the murder.

The suspects were sentenced by the East Jakarta court to ten months in imprisonment.

On April 12 the two were released from jail.

By the time of the suspects' release from jail, East Jakarta police had not reviewed the dossiers of two on the second charge because they had not received detailed information from the Bogor police who were reportedly slow in tackling the case.

Seeing that Bogor police had yet to arrest the two boys, city police came to do it on their behalf, but one of the boys, David, had reportedly left Jakarta for his hometown in North Sulawesi. (jsk)