Cramer Park shootout suspects make their first court appearance
Published: August 7, 2012
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ST. CROIX - The four men arrested Friday in connection with a shootout at a popular beach on Mother's Day made their initial court appearances Monday morning, along with another man arrested on an unrelated gun charge.
Kaleem Flemming, 18, and brothers Louis Magras, 28, Mario Magras, 20, and Flavel Magras, 28, who also is known as Flavious Magras, appeared before Magistrate Miguel Camacho and were advised of their rights after they were charged in the May 13 incident at Cramer Park Beach.
The men face charges of third-degree assault, unauthorized possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, carrying or using a dangerous weapon, possession of ammunition, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm. The men were further advised that they could be exposed to a prison sentence of more than 35 years and more than $35,000 in fines if they were to be tried and convicted.
The affidavit in the case, which is a document outlining the specific sequence of events surrounding the shooting that have been sworn to by police, has been placed under seal by order of the court based on requests from police and prosecutors that said that the investigation in the case still is ongoing and that further arrests could be made.
However, police said that the suspects were positively identified as the persons who fired multiple shots at Gilberto Rivera while at Cramer Park public beach where a number of beach parties were ongoing and children and adults of all ages were in attendance.
Police said after the men fired the shots, they fled the area in at least two vehicles.
Rivera was arrested moments after the shooting incident on firearms possession charges and has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
The suspects were arrested on warrants issued by V.I. Superior Court Judge Julio Brady, and bail initially was set at $50,000 for each of them.
During the advice-of-rights hearing Monday, Assistant Public Defender Nesha Christian-Hendrickson asked the court to allow each of the men to be released to a third-party custodian on the posting of 10 percent of the $50,000 in bail or whether they could post property to satisfy the bail. She also said there would be no objection for the men to be placed on curfews during the time when they are not working.
Assistant Attorney General Melissa Ortiz, objected to the motion based on the seriousness of the charges and that Louis and Flavel Magras already are felons convicted previously on gun possession charges and are currently on probation. She said Mario Magras has at least one gun charge pending in the court from last year and is on pre-trial release on that matter.
She asked the court to increase the bail to $100,000 for the three men, adding that their potential treatment and sentence as felons in possession of firearms may increase their likelihood of being flight risks.
Camacho agreed with the representation by Ortiz and raised the bail amount for each of the brothers.
Ortiz did not object to the release conditions on behalf of Flemming. He met his bail conditions by posting the 10 percent of the bail, and he was released to a third-party custodian Monday afternoon.
According to court documents, when police went to execute the warrant at the Catherine's Rest home of the brothers, they also arrested Ikoyo Matthias after they said they found a 9 mm luger handgun under his arm during the execution of the arrest warrant.
Police said when they went to execute the warrant, the men were outside the home and they ordered everyone to the ground. As officers approached, they saw Matthias fidgeting with something under his body, and when the officers examined him closer, they found the gun, police said.
Bail for Matthias initially was set at $25,000, but Ortiz once again asked the court to increase his bail because of a prior conviction.
Ikoyo Matthias and his twin brother, Iko Matthias, were arrested last November and charged with third-degree assault and reckless endangerment after police said they fired a single shot at a man in La Grande Princesse during morning rush-hour traffic. The man was grazed in the face by one bullet before the gun jammed, and the men drove off.
Last month, they were allowed to plead guilty to possession of ammunition charges in the case, and both are awaiting sentencing that has been scheduled for Sept. 19 before Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks.
Camacho increased bail for Matthias to $50,000 and said he must be able to secure 10 percent of bail in cash or twice the amount of bail in property in order to be released.
The men all are scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 22.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com