Aug. 5, 2006 – A jury of nine women and three men was selected Friday to serve in the first-degree murder trial of Rennell Lettsome, charged in the Oct. 29 murder on St. John of longtime resident David Geiger.
The trial will begin Monday in V.I. Superior Court with Judge Brenda Hollar presiding. Assistant Attorneys General Ernest Bason and William Evans will prosecute the case. Attorney Pedro Williams will defend Lettsome, according to a Saturday article in the Avis.
Lettsome faces several charges in the case, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault, third-degree assault, arson, and use of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence. Lettsome is alleged to have bludgeoned Geiger to death and then set his body on fire. He also is accused of attempting to kill Geiger's 14-year-old son, Nathan, who was nearly beaten to death.
Lettsome turned himself in to British authorities on Tortola in November and was extradited to St. Thomas, where he has remained incarcerated, unable to post the $1 million bond set in his case.
Lettsome has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Three others have been arrested in the case. Tullius Stewart is charged with grand larceny, in connection with $50,000 allegedly taken from Geiger's house. Stewart pleaded not guilty and was released (See "Suspect In St. John Grand Larceny Arrested, Then Released").
Robert Ferguson, 19, turned himself in to the VIPD's Major Crime Unit the first week in December 2005, after he returned from Florida, where he had fled. Ferguson is charged with attempted murder, accessory after the fact and arson for his alleged role in the incidents, which took place at the Geiger residence in October.
Nestor Colaire, 18, of Estate Bethany, St. John, was arrested by members of the Major Crime Unit Dec. 12. A release from Police Commissioner Elton Lewis, issued at the time, said Colaire returned from Florida to answer charges listed in an arrest warrant issued in November of attempted first-degree murder, accessory after the fact and arson.
Court documents reveal events leading up to the murder, according to the Avis. The newspaper story quotes the documents as saying that a female friend of Stewart was house sitting for Geiger on Oct. 20 when Stewart [visiting her] took a pan containing $50,000.
According to the documents, Geiger on Oct. 25 allegedly accused the house sitter, who was Lettsome's girlfriend, of taking the money. The girlfriend allegedly told Stewart she would go to the police unless he returned the money.
The girlfriend told police that she had told Lettsome of the money, and Lettsome said he would try to find someone to persuade Stewart to return the money. The girlfriend also told Lettsome there was more money in Geiger's house on Oct. 28 when the two had checked in to the Sapphire Beach Hotel.
Documents further reveal that Lettsome left the hotel that afternoon, but did not return until 8:30 a.m. the following morning, and that he told her he had killed Geiger and torched the house.
The condition of Geiger's son, Nathan, who was taken to Puerto Rico for medical treatment, is not known.
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