Published: August 29, 2012
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ST. CROIX - After almost six years of motions and legal battles about Ivan Petric Jr.'s competency that delayed his trial on charges that he killed three members of his family and the family dog, the case that was set to begin this week has hit another hurdle.
Jury selection in Petric's trial was scheduled to begin Monday before V.I. Superior Court Presiding Judge Darryl Donohue, but last-minute scheduling conflicts arose because of Tropical Storm Isaac's passage through the Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico, which made it impossible for witnesses to travel to the territory.
A continuance has been granted in the case. The trial has been rescheduled to start on Sept. 24.
A superseding information against Petric, 39, charges him with three counts of murder and additional charges after he was found with firearms in his La Vallee home Nov. 21, 2006.
Petric is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, one count of animal abuse and multiple counts of possession or sale of ammunition in connection with the shootings.
He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Petric's 75-year-old father, Ivan Petric Sr.; his father's companion, 69-year-old Nanny Kuiper; and Ivan Petric's younger brother, Zivko Petric, 31, along with the family dog, were found dead in the home.
Since his arrest, Petric has undergone a number of psychological evaluations, which have delayed the case. The last evaluation determined that he was competent to assist in his trial, according to court records.
According to a probable cause fact sheet filed in Superior Court by V.I. Police Detective Cpl. Terrence Desormeaux, police investigating an abandoned car in the Estate La Vallee area discovered the murder scene.
Police said they found Ivan Petric Jr. sitting on a bed in the same room as the body of his brother. All of the bodies - even that of the dog - were covered with cardboard, carpeting or clothing.
Desormeaux said Petric was holding two fully loaded .357-caliber revolvers and a tool box that contained boxes of bullets, according to the affidavit. He told police the shootings occurred after a domestic dispute, according to the affidavit.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.