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HomeNewsArchivesNEW YORK SHOOTINGS SHOCK V.I. RESIDENTS

NEW YORK SHOOTINGS SHOCK V.I. RESIDENTS

May 15, 2001 – The shock waves of a lurid New York crime story reverberated throughout St. John Monday — news that an island resident and another person with longtime local ties were dead and another resident had been seriously injured in what apparently was a drug-related shooting spree five floors above a popular restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.
In the early evening of Thursday, May 10, St. John residents Rosemond Dane and Charles "Trey" Helliwell III were among four friends relaxing with recording artist Jennifer Stahl in her sixth-floor apartment above the Carnegie Delicatessen on Seventh Avenue. By the time the sun had set, Stahl, Helliwell and another guest had been fatally shot, and Dane and the fourth guest were wounded.
Dane and Helliwell, both 36, had just arrived in New York from St. John the day of the shootings, according to New York press reports. Dane, who is from New Jersey and has two pre-teen sons from a dissolved marriage, has lived on the island for 15 years.
The New York Times said the two Virgin Islanders had flown to New York to attend a weekend wedding in New Jersey. St. John sources said Dane was there both to attend a cousin's wedding and to attend a trade show at the nearby Javits Center in connection with her retail businesses in Cruz Bay.
A family member said Tuesday that the bullet that struck Dane grazed her ear and entered and exited her collarbone. "I've talked with her, and she is doing as best as can be expected under the circumstances," this individual said. "She's recovering from her wounds."
The family member continued, "The outpouring of people wanting to help has been amazing," with members of the community coming forward and offering to pay for plane tickets so Dane's sons could fly to New York to be with her. It was not immediately known whether they would do so.
The Source has made the editorial decision not to identify any of Dane's family members by name or place of residence because of security concerns in connection with the crime investigation.
Local sources said Monday that Stahl had been a St. John visitor from as early at 1986, and the two women had known each at least from the time Stahl was married to Wendall Callwood, son of Jost Van Dyke entrepreneur "Foxy" Callwood, a marriage that ended several years ago, according to the sources. Helliwell had lived on St. John for the last three years, sources said, and he and Dane had been seeing each other for several months.
"Both women were known to everyone here on St. John," local businesswoman and community activist Cheryl Miller said Monday, noting that Dane owns the Silverlining jewelry store across from Joe's Diner in the heart of Cruz Bay. Dane also owns two other shops in the same stretch of street — the Heads Up accessories boutique and Hecho A Mano (Spanish for "hand-made"), a crafts gift shop.
Miller said she "was so horrified" when she heard of the incident. She said Dane and Helliwell "had gone to New York City together to rest, have fun and enjoy their new-found love."
Mary Blazine, executive director of the St. John Foundation, said Dane and Stahl "met on Jost Van Dyke when Jennifer was married to Wendall." Blazine recalled first having first met Stahl in 1986, when the then-actress and some friends rented one of the villas Blazine then managed. "Years later, she married Foxy's son Wendy … They divorced maybe three or four years ago," Blazine said.
The Times said friends described Helliwell as the son of a retired Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and an avid sailor. He started a music production company in Massachusetts but moved to the Virgin Islands in 1998 to work toward a captain's license. Helliwell "was very active in the Kids And The Sea (KATS) program," Blazine said, and while it was understood on St. John that he came from a well-off family, he was "thought of as a giving person."
Stahl, 39, was from an affluent New Jersey family, the Times reported. She had minor roles in "Dirty Dancing" and several more obscure films in the late 1980s and early '90s. Then, resolving to give up acting and pursue a singing career, she converted one room of her apartment into a soundproof recording studio.
Press accounts cited police as saying Stahl was in the marijuana-dealing business as well as show business, operating as a mid-level retailer out of her residence. "She used her apartment to record music as well as to store scales, packaging material and pounds of the drug," the Times reported. "Behind her pink front door there hung a cardboard sign that listed a half-dozen varieties, with prices from $300 to $600 an ounce."
It was a by-appointment kind of operation, according to the account, and Stahl dealt only with known customers. Police reportedly confiscated six pounds of marijuana from the apartment and estimated its street value at $60,000.
According to New York press reports, the buzzer of Stahl's apartment sounded around 7:30 p.m. Thursday as the occupants were having some wine and Stahl was having her hair cut by her friend Anthony Veader, a show business hair stylist. Stahl opened the door to find two young men outside. One witness later told police Stahl addressed one of the men as "Sean" and asked what he was doing there.
Five minutes later, Helliwell and the fourth guest, rock musician Stephen King (no relation to the author), were dead of gunshot wounds to the head and Stahl was dying. Dane was gravely wounded and Veader was also wounded, although not seriously. Veader called 911 for help.
Based on witness and police accounts, the Times said one assailant had taken Stahl into the recording room while his companion ordered Veader and King to lie on the floor and began binding King's hands and feet with duct tape. According to a senior police investigator, Stahl was heard to say: "Take the money, take the money. Take the drugs. Don't hurt anybody." After the sound of a single shot, the man applying the duct tape said to his colleague, "Why did you have to shoot her?"
Dane and Helliwell came out of a third room and were also ordered to the floor, the newspaper reported, and Helliwell's hands and feet were bound. Then, the senior investigator said, Veader heard "a quick boom-boom-boom-boom," including the shot that grazed his head.
The Times reported a witness account that the two assailants wore bandannas on their heads. The New York Daily News reported that "two men with long braids and baggy clothing were spotted running west on 55th Street" moments after the shootings. News accounts did not identify the suspects any further.
A surveillance camera on the second-floor landing of the apartment building recorded the suspects arriving and then departing. It showed one of the fleeing suspects carrying a backpack as the duo exited the building, turned west on West 55th Street, and disappeared down a subway station stairway. Police initially sent the videotape to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va., for enhancement, according to the Times.
On Monday, New York Police Department spokesperson Carmen Melendez told the Source there had been no arrests, and an "intensive" investigation was ongoing. The security camera tape was released to the media, Melendez said, in the hope that it would help in identifying the killers. She declined to give any further information, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.
Miller said Monday that Stahl "was known down here as a very crazy, wild young woman."
Blazine described Dane as "the classic example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," expressing conviction that she "had no idea Jennifer was involved in whatever she was involved in."
The Times reported that a senior police official said Stahl had never been arrested in New York City but that her name appears
in a law-enforcement database used for tracking areas known for drug trafficking, including Puerto Rico and Barbados.
Blazine said she had been told by someone close to the case that Dane would be released from New York's Bellevue Hospital Center on Tuesday.
Nina Gross, a friend and co-worker of Dane's, said Tuesday that "Rosemund should rest assured that those of us here will take care of the stores. She just needs to take care of herself right now."
Blazine said she was "so saddened by this that I have no words to express. I can only say that this is one of the most tragic examples to occur in this small circle. Prayers are all I have to give now for Rosemond and her children."
Miller added, "We are all praying for her and are very saddened by her loss."

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