72.4 F
Cruz Bay
Monday, January 30, 2023



Nov. 15, 2001 – A 19-year-old arrested by police Thursday and charged with the murder of Marlon Lambertis on Monday also was charged last year with the 1999 murder of Rahim Donastorg. That case was dismissed because investigators either lost or destroyed all of the forensic evidence in the case.
Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit arrested Jamal "Tugboat" Stevens on Thursday morning and charged him with the first-degree murder of Lambertis, 18, on Monday evening outside the Contant Knolls Apartments. Stevens is being held without bail until he is advised of his rights at a court hearing, which will probably be held Friday.
Later Thursday, police also arrested Gingah Uraine Elmes, 19, and charged him with being a principal to first-degree murder. Elmes also is in custody.
Lambertis was killed after a gunman approached him while he was sitting with a small group of friends in front of Contant Knolls, police said. He died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen after a friend rushed him to Roy L. Schneider Hospital.
The assailant, who had driven up to the apartment complex in a red Honda Civic, made his getaway in the car, police said.
Last January, Territorial Court Judge Brenda Hollar dismissed first-degree murder and firearms charges against Stevens in connection with the December 1999 shooting death of Donastorg, an apprentice lineman for the Water and Power Authority. In her order dismissing the charges, Hollar noted that prosecutors had not turned over key evidence — including medical records, the autopsy report, photographs taken at the crime scene in Sugar Estate and records of firearms tests — to defense attorney Gary Alizzeo.
All of that evidence, Hollar noted, appeared to have been lost or destroyed.
"The government indicated that certain discovery, including all forensic materials, had either been destroyed or lost by the government," she wrote. "The court finds that the government's failure to produce the required discovery to the defendant is inexcusable."
The dismissal of those charges came after Hollar, while sitting in the Family Division of the Territorial Court, had found probable cause to justify the arrest of Stevens, who was 17 at the time of Donastorg's death.
Prosecutors produced evidence that Stevens had fought with Donastorg, threatened to shoot him in the head, followed him up First Avenue, killed him with a gunshot to the back of the head and then fled into Paul M. Pearson Gardens. Several witnesses said they had seen the fight and heard the gunshot, but no one testified to having seen who fired the weapon, Hollar noted.
Deputy Police Chief Theodore Carty said Thursday he did not know the circumstances of the dismissal of the charges against Stevens in that case.
Stevens' arrest Thursday is the first arrest police have made in connection with any of the 12 homicides on St. Thomas this year.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.