Charges dropped in Frederiksted shooting
Published: March 16, 2013
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ST. CROIX - A V.I. Superior Court judge on Friday granted the prosecution's motion to dismiss attempted murder and related counts against three men who were charged in September in connection with a fight in Frederiksted.
Amolay Christopher, 39, of Clifton Hill; his brother, Anwar Christopher, 23, of Good Hope Town Houses; and their cousin, Ivan James, 28, of Estate La Grange, were facing charges of attempted murder, first-degree assault, third-degree assault, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition, carrying a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence and failure to report a firearm brought into the territory against stemming from a fight Sept. 2 near Dorsch Beach.
In the motion seeking the dismissal, filed by Assistant Attorney General Kippy Roberson, the prosecution said that the charges should be dismissed without prejudice.
Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks granted the prosecution's motion and ordered the men to be released.
When the men made their initial court appearances in September, bail had been set at $300,000. They posted property to satisfy the bail, and all three men were placed on 24-hour curfews with the use of electronic monitoring devices.
At the men's advice-of-rights hearing, attorney Eszart Wynter, representing James, challenged the arrests and the conditions of release.
On Friday, Wynter said it was clear that the prosecution did not have the evidence they believed they had. He said that ample witness testimony corroborated his client's statements about the series of events and showed that the three defendants were not the aggressors and that the gun belonged to the victim.
According to documents filed by V.I. Police Detective Jeffrey Nesbitt, two witnesses told police that about 9 p.m. Sept. 2, the 26-year-old man shouted at Amolay Christopher, who was beating a woman in a car near Dorsch Beach.
The man left and went to a Queen Street grocery store, where he had a drink with friends, according to the report. Amolay Christopher approached the man at the store, told him to mind his own business and then hit him in the face, according to Nesbitt's affidavit.
The man hit back, and a fight began, according to witnesses.
Nesbitt said in his report that James and Anwar Christopher joined the fight, and the three brutally beat and kicked the man. Witnesses said the beating continued for several minutes, as the three men first dragged the victim across the street and into a stairwell and then behind a sport utility vehicle.
With the victim unable to stand any longer, the beating continued until a single gunshot was fired and the attackers ran, according to the report.
Witnesses identified James and Anwar Christopher, Nesbitt said.
Amolay Christopher was identified by a police officer who responded to the call of a fight.
According to Nesbitt's report, the victim initially was treated at Luis Hospital for a lateral gunshot wound to his head, a shattered nose, a fractured face, sinus damage and a skull fracture. He was airlifted from the territory for additional treatment.
Among items police recovered was a blood-covered gun, Nesbitt said.
James told police he took the weapon from the victim as he tried to break up the fight.
Following Willocks' order, the three men were freed.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.