85 F
Cruz Bay
Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsQuarrel Turns Deadly in Thomasville; Female Motorist Killed

Quarrel Turns Deadly in Thomasville; Female Motorist Killed

A witness told police the accused gunman is the father of the victim’s child. (Shutterstock image)

Police say a heated argument between a toddler’s parents led to the apparent shooting death of the child’s mother. According to court records, the incident was reported to 911 just after dawn on Friday.

The accused gunman was arrested after authorities found him hiding in a bushy area near the shooting scene in Thomasville. Authorities identified the victim as 33-year-old Mardette Ward.

Ward was found unresponsive by first responders behind the wheel of a Nissan sedan. The initial cause of death was a gunshot wound to the upper body, said a report filed by the Virgin Islands Police Department Investigations Bureau.

Accused gunman Simon Rawlins Jr., 37, appeared Monday at an advice of rights hearing in Superior Court Magistrates Division. Magistrate Simone Van Holten-Turnbull recounted details of the fatal encounter given to police by witnesses on the scene.

One of the witnesses said she was the victim’s domestic partner. She identified Rawlins as the gunman, adding that he and the victim had a 2-year-old child together. The first witness said words were exchanged between Ward and Rawlins, and between Rawlins and herself.

The magistrate described a portion of the investigators’ report and the witness statement saying that as she and Ward started to drive away, she heard a “pop.” The victim stopped moving after that, Holten-Turnbull said.

At the hearing the public defender representing Rawlins asked the court to reduce the $1 million bail set at the time of Friday’s arrest. The magistrate refused.

“The fact that they had to go search for him says he’s a flight risk,” Van Holten-Turnbull said. “There were witnesses who said the victim never left the vehicle and never had more than a verbal altercation, and yet she got shot and was killed.”

Rawlins attended Monday’s hearing by way of live stream video from the Criminal Justice Complex. He is scheduled for arraignment on May 10 at 10 a.m.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.