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Daniel Sikkema Is Bailed While Wanted for Murder of Noted Art Dealer

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY EXCLUSIVE, March 20 – Daniel Sikkema is subject to an Interpol warrant for the murder of his estanged husband, art gallery owner Brent Sikkema, in Brazil. On March 20 Daniel Sikkema was brought by US Marshals into the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrates Court, with detention sought for passport fraud. Inner City Press was the only media there and live tweeted, thread:

Daniel Sikkema is here, suspect in killing his husband in Brazil - but charged with passport fraud. US says if he is released on bail he'll flee.

AUSA: He could flee to Cuba, where he's a national and owns several properties there. The defendant sent an email showing he knew the passports were not lost. We searched his residence and found evidence. We want detention

Judge: If he's convicted, what sentencing guideline would he get? Defense counsel: Our view is different. He was born as Daniel Carrera - when he married his husband he changed his name. He was working for many years with his husband, art gallery in NY

 Sikkema's counsel: He was taking care of his son, whose now 13 years old. Judge: He's 53 and he's on Social Security? Sikkema's counsel: As a surviving spouse

Judge: Who owns the Fire Island property? Defense: It's in a trust, the executor of the estate of his deceased husband would have to agree - it is not available. The elephant in the room is the Interpol warrant. The Gov't has given you hearsay from Brazil

Defense: The Government tells you the finger is being pointed at him for murder. There is a pending motion to dismiss those charges. Brazil could seek extradition - the treaty does not require extradition of an American citizen, there would be a defense

Defense: The Government brings up the murder charges, the Interpol warrant we've been aware of for a month - he's not going anywhere. Judge: The passport fraud offense manifested a plan, the Government might say. Defense: We're not trying the case.

 Defense: He wanted his 13 year old son to be able to go to Italy with his soccer team. We have abundant evidence. He was not going to go on that trip. And now he doesn't have the passports. He has no criminal record whatsoever. He's know about the charges

 Defense: He has his passport from Cuba... He had his passport from Spain... He could have gone at any time. Judge: Didn't they find, this morning, a bag with his Spanish passport and cash Defense: Where else do you put a passport but a bag? If he wanted to flee

 Defense: If he was willing to flee without his son he could have weeks ago, it would have been a lot easier. All the other reasons evaporate upon the slightest inspection

Defense: The mother owns a home in Queens with equity of $800,000... She is willing to put it up. Judge: Does Mr. Sikkema have any of his own property? Defense: No, it's all in the trust. We propose a bond, Lucelis Gomez as signer and owner of the home

 Defense: He's the sole caretaker for his 13 year old son. Judge: The son was born here? Defense: Yes. He goes to school here. In New York. Judge: Does he have travel documents? Defense: There was a Spanish passportJudge: Would he be eligible for a non custodial sentence? [Apparently, for passport fraud]

Defense: I could do research. AUSA: I don't have a lot of experience with this charge. Judge: If there were a pending extradition request from Brazil, could he be detained?

 AUSA: I'm not sure. Defense: Upon a request, there's a presumption he would be detained, but he could be bailed. [Echoes of SBF extradition and deal] Defense: I just looked up 2L2.2, fraudulent application, offense level 8, genocide adjustment does not apply

 AUSA: There's no need to do guess work he intended to flee - the lengths he went to get a passport. His apartment was ready for him to leave at any point. The two suretors, the Government has concerns. One was his long term employee, he holds sway

 AUSA: When we thought he might be bailed, we asked. Defense said he knows no one else in the community. He's been here 15 years. His ties are elsewhere. When the agents went to his apartment, there were many family members there - about three

 Defense: He hired counsel in Brazil - Judge: I don't want you to address something new. What about family members in the apartment - are they residents or citizens of the US? Defense: One is his cousin Myra. She's not a citizen.  Judge: She has a green card? No  

Defense: The others in the apartment came here with what's called humanitarian parole.  AUSA: I'm done. Judge: This is a passport fraud case. It's likely to be a non custodial sentence. If detained he could serve time pretrial more than he'd get if convicted

 Judge: He is a citizen of USA,  his son was born here. He has some other family ties here. I can't find that his ties abroad outweigh his ties here.  [Question: Will the US Attorney's Office be asking for a stay to appeal to the Part I judge? a supervisor was here

 Judge: So I am releasing Mr. Sikeema on a $1 million personal recognizance bond, secured by the property in Queens subject to review by the government of the equity, if it is in the high 100s of 1000s of dollars. Owned by Maria L. Gomez

Judge: I direct Mr. Sikkema be on home detention and surrender all passports that remain in his possession and those of his son. I direct a mental health evaluation. He's unemployed but I direct him to seek employment. No guns or weapons.

Judge: He can be released today on his own signature

Pre Trial: We can't put on the GPS bracelet.

Judge: So he will be held overnight, produced tomorrow

More details on X for Subscribers here and Substack here

 The case 24-mj-1146 (Stein)


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