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Docket Briefs: Prosecutors Waive Death Penalty in Cop Killer Case

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New developments in July 4 homicide: a bat-swinging brouhaha and chain-snatching stalkers in Solberg. (Shutterstock image)

Prosecutors handling the July 4th murder case of a St. Thomas police detective have signaled that they will not seek the death penalty against Richardson Dangelben Jr. The declaration came after the U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller called for a hearing on the matter.

The defendent was arrested July 7 in connection with the killing of Det. Delberth Phipps Jr. during a shootout in Hospital Ground on the Fourth of July. He is now facing federal and local charges, including murder, assault, weapons possession and a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(i).

That particular offense — commission of a violent crime/drug-related offense/possession or use of a machine gun resulting in death — is one of 42 federal crimes that include a death sentence among its possible penalties.

U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands Delia Smith and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Conley filed a statement with the District Court on St. Thomas, effectively taking the death sentence off the table.

“The United States intends to proceed with either a non-capital trial or plea agreement in this matter and will not seek the death penalty for Richardson Dangleben Jr.,” the two top federal prosecutors said.

That leaves the defendant facing a possible sentence of life without parole whether he opts to plead guilty or is convicted at trial.

Superior Court Briefs:

In other matters heard in Superior Court was a bat-wielding woman arrested on St. Thomas after allegedly assaulting another woman on Krondprindsens Gade. Documents filed in Superior Court’s magistrate division say 40-year-old Yant Diaz was among a group that got into an argument near the Jala Jala nightclub on Jan. 21.

Police encountered the alleged victim in the emergency room at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital, undergoing treatment for head injuries. Diaz was arrested on Feb. 9, charged with first- and third-degree assault, mayhem and disturbance of the peace.

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An 18-year-old man was charged in connection with an armed robbery, assault, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police say defendant Jeanlor Ulysse was one of two masked men who accosted a youth leaving the home of friends in Solberg after paying a visit on Jan. 14.

The victim told authorities he was walking home when a vehicle slowly rolled up beside him and two masked men jumped out. A gold chain valued at between $1,000 and $1,500 was allegedly taken at gunpoint.

Court records say the victim told police that while he could not see the faces of the masked assailants, he recognized the voice of a high school classmate. Details in the Jan. 14 incident bear similarities to a strong arm jewelry heist that took place in the Havensight area on Oct. 19.

The alleged victim, along with one of his parents, visited the VIPD Investigations Bureau on Jan. 19. Information obtained by investigators led to Ulysse’s apprehension on Feb. 9.

The second alleged perpetrator is believed to be a minor, court records said.

The defendant made an initial appearance in court on Monday before Superior Court Magistrate Paula Norkadis. An arraignment has been scheduled for March 1.


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