2 Golden Grove inmates charged with possessing dangerous contraband

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ST. CROIX - Two V.I. Corrections Bureau inmates currently serving time at Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility made their initial appearances in Magistrate Court on Friday to be charged with possessing contraband inside the prison.

Stephan Hyacinth, 28, and Delroy Wood, 23, were charged with introducing dangerous contraband into the correctional facility, and Hyacinth additionally was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon.

According to the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant in the case against Hyacinth, on July 11 of last year there was an altercation between inmates Ralph Brathwaite and Humphrey Balson inside the facility that resulted in Balson being fatally stabbed.

Officers said that after the stabbing, Brathwaite ran from one unit to the next, and as officers responded, they also encountered Hyacinth, who according to the police report, was apprehended with a pocket knife hidden under his arm.

Based on the ongoing investigation, it was determined that Hyacinth possessed the knife, a deadly weapon and dangerous contraband, but he was not responsible for the murder.

Brathwaite was arrested in connection with Balson's murder and currently is awaiting trial on first-degree murder and related charges.

The warrant in support of Wood's arrest states that the Gang Intelligence Task Force conducted a random search of Wood's cell, which he occupies alone.

When the officers entered the room, they told Wood to stand against the wall while they began a search of the room and prepared to do a clothing pat-down to determine whether Wood had any weapons of other contraband on his person. Before the pat down began, Woods slammed an object that officers later identified as a white iPhone 4 on the ground, according to the affidavit.

They did not find any additional contraband in his cell or on his person, according to the report.

During the advice-of-rights hearing Friday, Senior Sitting Judge Darryl Donohue Sr. informed the men that if they are tried and convicted of the charges, they each would face up to 10 years in prison, in addition to whatever sentence they currently are serving on the introduction charge.

In addition, Hyacinth was advised that he also could face an additional five years in prison on the weapon charge.

Assistant Public Defender Nesha Christian-Hendrickson asked the court to allow both men to released on an unsecured bond in the amount of bail, which had been set at $10,000 for Wood and $25,000 for Hyacinth.

With objection from Assistant Attorney General Cornelius Evans, Donohue denied her motion, saying the bail must be fully secured, but pointed out that Wood currently is serving a 10-year prison sentence and Hyacinth is serving a 12-year prison sentence.

Even if he granted the motion for pretrial release, both men still would be held on their previous charges, Donohue said.

At 19, Wood was already being detained at Golden Grove when he was arrested on a warrant charging him with first-degree reckless endangerment in connection with an incident in Grove Place in December 2002 and on a separate warrant charging him with first-degree robbery and first-degree assault in connection with a July 25, 2009, incident at Croixville Apartments. Wood took a global plea to the charges against him and was sentenced in 2012 to serve a decade in prison.

Hyacinth was sentenced in connection after being convicted of possession of an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a crime of violence and assault, but no additional details of his crime were available.

Both men were arraigned during Friday's hearing and pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Wood is scheduled for calendar call April 10 before V.I. Superior Court Judge Robert Molloy, while Hyacinth is scheduled to appear before V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks on May 2.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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