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Government Wants Double Homicide Suspect Held Without Bail

Government attorney Claude Walker wrapped up a brief advice of rights hearing Wednesday afternoon by asking V.I. Superior Court Judge James S. Carroll III to deny bail for 22-year-old Steve D. Tyson Jr., charged with gunning down two teenagers during a Monday morning shootout at Coki Point Beach.
Among other things, Tyson has been charged with first-degree murder for his role in the incident, which claimed the lives of 18-year-old Shahid Joseph and 14-year-old Lizmarie Perez Chapparro, who was visiting the territory with her family aboard the Carnival Destiny.
Tyson was arrested early Tuesday afternoon, after turning himself in.
Walker told the judge that Tyson had allegedly already confessed to the crime in conversations and text messages shared with a V.I. Police Department detective, to whom he even offered up the murder weapon.
Called to the stand Wednesday was VIPD Detective Dwight Griffin, who recounted the tale of a witness to the shootout at the beach, who said Tyson, driving in his car, allegedly opened fire on Joseph as he walked down the street.
"Joseph returned fire, and then the witness saw another male walk up to Joseph, pick up his gun that he had dropped and return fire at Tyson," Griffith said. Police have said they found Joseph’s body lying in the middle of the roadway, while Chapparro was hit with a stray bullet while traveling aboard a safari that got caught in the crossfire while it was leaving the beach.
She later died at the hospital.
Carroll cast doubt during the hearing as to whether Tyson should be charged with first-degree murder for both deaths, since it isn’t clear at this point whether the bullets from his gun struck and killed Chapparro.
While on the stand, Griffith said the case is still under investigation, and that detail is still being worked out, which further fueled arguments from Tyson’s defense attorney Leonard Francis Jr.
Francis said Tyson’s car was traveling in front of the safari bus Chapparro was on, which means that Tyson, if he shot anyone at all, was firing in front of him, while Joseph and the third unnamed shooter were aiming behind them. Given that, it’s impossible Tyson was the killer in that instance, he added.
But Walker maintained that according to the principle of transferred intent, Tyson fired first, fueling the fight, which means he’s liable for whoever was killed as a result of his conduct.
Francis also objected to the assault charges Tyson is facing in connection with the incident, saying that the government hasn’t provided any evidence of such and is trying to get away with making it a lesser included charge to murder. But Carroll disagreed, saying assault can apply to any of the gunshots that didn’t hit the victims.
Despite the objections from Francis, Carroll upheld all charges against Tyson — including both first-degree murder charges — and scheduled his bail hearing for Friday at 2 p.m. Tyson’s arraignment will follow next Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

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