Court dismisses charges against man accused of choking woman, trying to take dog in June


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ST. CROIX - Assault and related charges have been dismissed against a Christiansted man who was arrested last summer and accused of choking a woman inside her home and trying to steal her puppy.

Donovan Smith, 28, of La Grande Princesse was arrested June 11 and charged with second-degree assault; simple assault; disturbance of the peace by threats; and attempted grand larceny.

He had pleaded not guilty and had requested a speedy jury trial in the case that was assigned to V.I. Superior Court Judge Douglas Brady.

On Wednesday, Brady granted a motion filed by Assistant Attorney General Joseph Ponteen asking that the case be dismissed. Ponteen, in his motion seeking the dismissal, said his office does not believe that sufficient evidence exists to sustain its burden of proof.

Brady granted the motion for dismissal and ordered that all conditions of restraint against Smith be vacated.

According to a probable cause fact sheet filed by V.I. Police Officer Danisha Samuel, the charges stem from an incident in which officers were called to a La Grande Princesse home to respond to a disturbance when they found a woman who said Smith had assaulted her.

The woman said she heard her front door open and within seconds Smith was at her door arguing with her. She said he was upset about a situation with his son and told the woman that if he heard any additional complaints from his son, he would come back to her house, strangle her, beat her teenage daughter to death and kill their dog, according to court documents.

The woman said that as Smith was leaving, he picked up one of her puppies and she tried to stop him.

The woman told police that Smith then pushed her up against her stove and choked her. She told police her teenage daughter grabbed a bat and hit him in his head, and Smith pushed the girl and grabbed the bat from her and beat the woman across her neck and shoulders with it.

Samuel said when Smith was located by police he admitted going to the house, but he said he only went to speak to the woman. He said he picked up the puppy because he thought it belonged to his son, and at that time the woman and her daughter attacked him, according to the affidavit.

Bail for Smith had been set at $15,000 and the 10 percent bond he posted was ordered exonerated with the dismissal.

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

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