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HomeNewsArchivesBail Set at $500,000 for First Suspect in Double Homicide

Bail Set at $500,000 for First Suspect in Double Homicide

July 2, 2005 — An advice of rights hearing was held on Saturday morning at the St. Thomas-St. John Superior Court for 20-year-old Jahmal Hart in conjunction with the murders of Tristan A. Charlier and Leon H. Roberts, two New York tourists who were shot to death in the early morning hours of June 15 near the Frenchtown Post Office. (See "Police Identify Slain New Yorkers, Continue Investigation".)
Hart, charged with first-degree murder in the double homicide, was visibly crying at the hearing and shook his head when charges were presented. Dressed in a red prison jumpsuit, Hart looked like a child as presiding Judge Brenda Hollar read him his rights in front of his mother and father, both of whom were tearful.
Hart, who resides in Estate Anna’s Fancy, was positively identified by a witness who was at the Frenchtown bus stop on June 15 around the time of the murders.
Officer Mario Stout, who testified at the hearing, added that the witness allegedly saw Hart and his brother approach Charlier and Roberts to ask for some money. According to the witness, when Charlier and Roberts refused, Hart and his brother shot them multiple times, then fled the scene.
Hollar further questioned Stout as to where Hart was identified. Stout said that Hart was pointed out by the witness in Simmons Alley on St. Thomas on Wednesday around noon.
"The witness went into the alley, where the suspect was sitting underneath a tree. The witness then had a conversation with Hart, came back to me and identified him for the murders," Stout said.
From this statement, Hollar determined that there was probable cause to hold Hart on two counts of first-degree murder and set bail at $500,000. If the amount is not paid, Hart will be held in custody until his arraignment hearing July 14 at 9:30 a.m.
As he filed out of the courtroom, Hart moved to talk to his mother, who reached out to touch his hand. Hart was denied contact and told to move on by nearby officers.
Hart’s brother, 17, was charged at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning and was at Hart’s side during the proceedings. He is being held without bail pending an advice of rights hearing in the Family Division of the V.I. Superior Court. Because he is a minor, no further information on his identity can be released.
A press release sent by VIPD Public Relations Officer Sgt. Thomas Hannah stated that the minor was also identified by witnesses who placed him at the scene. "The case is still under active investigation," the release stated. Families of both the victims have been notified of the arrests and are being provided with updates on the investigation.
Hart was represented by attorney Jesse Bethel, a former public defender. Prosecuting attorney was Lofton D. Holder.
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