Convicted killer Ostalaza faces new murder charge
Published: November 15, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar had one question Wednesday for the prosecutor who is bringing a new murder case against convicted killer Maliek Ostalaza.
"Why did it take five years to do this?" Hollar said.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed last week by V.I. Police Detective Jose Allen, Ostalaza was at least partially responsible for the Sept. 30, 2007, shooting death of Dennis Corraspe Jr. at Magens Bay Beach.
Ostalaza was charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and third-degree assault, possession of an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and aiding and abetting, court records state.
Ostalaza, who already is serving a life sentence for the 2010 slaying of 26-year-old Kevin James, was arrested on the new charges Tuesday, one day after he turned 23, and advised of his rights Wednesday.
Ostalaza and Jevern Phillip, 25, each were found guilty in May on first-degree murder charges in the James killing, and Superior Court Judge James Carroll III sentenced them both to life in prison without parole - the only penalty available under the V.I. Code. - on first-degree murder convictions.
Both men's cases remain under appeal to the V.I. Supreme Court.
When Hollar asked about the delay in prosecuting the 2007 case, which predated by thtee years the incident for which Ostalaza is now serving a life sentence, Assistant Attorney General Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte said there was "some transition in the police department" with certain officers retiring that resulted in a "breakdown in communication."
"It kind of got left," Tejo-Sprotte said.
Tejo-Sprotte said that as soon as she became aware that the case had not been acted upon, she made contact with witnesses, ensured the evidence still was intact and moved forward.
According to Allen's affidavit, the one civilian witness in the Corraspe case, Yardley Carbon, was interviewed by police in May 2008. He told police that he and Corraspe were on the beach frying fish when two men from a group of "approximately eight dudes" walked up to Corraspe. Corraspe punched one of the men, and the other, identified by the witness as Joel Vicars, pistol-whipped Corraspe and shot him once in the stomach, Allen wrote.
Vicars pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case in 2009 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
But Allen's affidavit includes new details about Ostalaza's alleged involvement: V.I. Police Officer Aaron Krigger Sr. was attending a function at Magens Bay Beach the day of the shooting. Krigger said he saw Ostalaza, whom he recognized from a prior encounter, pointing a handgun at Corraspe before Corraspe fell to the ground.
Another police officer, Norville West, and a corrections officer, Roberto Monstanto, chased Ostalaza and Vicars, according to the affidavit.
West told police that Ostalaza continued to run from him after he had identified himself as an officer and "was attempting to remove a firearm from his waist," so the officer shot Ostalaza, according to the affidavit. A third officer, Kim Hoheb, also was involved in the chase and shot Vicars, according to the affidavit.
Krigger said he helped West secure the handgun that was taken from Ostalaza, while other officers helped do the same with Vicars.
Ostalaza is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges Nov. 29.
- Contact reporter Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email email@example.com.