July 14, 2005 – Jahmal Hart, charged earlier this month for the double homicide of Tristan A. Charlier and Leon H. Roberts, pleaded "not guilty" Thursday to all counts of murder in the first degree.
Unable to post $500,000 for bail, Hart has been held in police custody since his advice of rights hearing July 2 (see "Bail Set at $500,000 for First Suspect in Double Homicide"). Investigators have said Hart, 20, was identified by an undisclosed witness in connection with the murders. He was arrested July 1 along with his 17-year-old brother.
Hart was represented Thursday by attorney Gwendolyn Wilds-Moore, who was filling in for Stephen Brush.
Judge Audrey A. Thomas presided over the arraignment, giving Hart deadlines for further court activity. He will not be able to enter into a plea arrangement until Oct. 7.
Thomas added that Hart's case will be assigned to Judge Ive A. Swan.
Nothing further is known about Hart's brother, the second suspected shooter in the case. Prosecutors at the hearing said there are plans to try the two together, but they would not comment further on the matter.
Charlier and Roberts, two New York tourists, were visiting the island for a wedding. They 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").
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