Events in the death of William Hyde Motions filed to charge 5 juveniles as adults in Magens Bay slaying
Published: February 4, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Prosecutors are asking V.I. Family Court to upgrade the attempted murder charges against five minors and to try the 16- and 17-year-old suspects as adults in connection with a brutal beating at Magens Bay beach that took one man's life.
V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer confirmed Friday that prosecutors have filed motions to upgrade the charges against the minors, who were originally charged Dec. 10 and Dec. 12 with attempted murder; first-degree assault; kidnapping; grand larceny; unauthorized use of a vehicle; possession of stolen property; possession of a stolen vehicle; and two counts each of using a dangerous weapon during a crime of violence.
He said the government also is asking to try the suspects in V.I. Superior Court, as opposed to Family Court.
Frazer said Friday he did not remember specifically when the new motions were filed, but he said his office was awaiting rulings on both of them.
The suspects were released to the custody of their parents or guardians after they were advised of their rights on the original charges, according to police.
The victim, 65-year-old William Hyde, died from his injuries on Dec. 17 after he was taken off of life support on Dec. 14 at a stateside hospital, according to police.
Since then, prosecutors repeatedly promised an update in the charges against the five boys to reflect Hyde's death, but that process did not occur until last week.
Hyde was found badly beaten and unresponsive on Nov. 24 in a women's bathroom stall at Magens Bay beach, according to V.I. and Miami-Dade Police.
According to police, one of the suspects knew Hyde and called him for a ride. When Hyde arrived in Anna's Retreat to pick the boy up, the suspect got into the truck and four other boys came out of the bush and also got into the truck. The boys threatened Hyde with a BB gun, forced him into the back cab of the truck and took him to the beach, where they assaulted him, according to police.
Hyde's death remains under investigation by the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department, according to staff there, who said they will not fulfill a pending public records request for autopsy records in Hyde's case until the law enforcement investigation is complete.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Javier Baez said his department's Homicide Bureau also is investigating the case.
"It was believed the victim was attacked and left for dead," Baez wrote in an e-mail. "The victim never regained consciousness after the attack, and it was believed the victim may have been strangled."
Baez said he did not have any further details about the case and said V.I. Police are the lead investigating agency.
In the wake of Hyde's death, many who knew him expressed concern at the delay in upgrading the charges against the minors.
"It's just outrageous," said Genie Lupo, who described herself as a friend and mentor to Hyde. "He was very much admired by me and by many people."
Lupo said she feels it is important for justice to be served in Hyde's case "to make a public example of what not to do."
"I just feel like they need to do something for this loving, giving man," Lupo said. "He does not deserve this death."
Jack Shivlani, a manager at the Havensight Boolchand's store where Hyde worked starting in 2009, described Hyde as "a true gentleman."
"There are a lot of stories coming up, but the bottom line is there are six lives at stake here," Shivlani said. "Not only the one that was lost, but also the five that are just starting out. I don't know the law, but I know for sure that we will miss him over here. We really enjoyed working with him."
Boolchand's employee Francisco Gomez remembered sharing a love of Spanish music and Mexican food with Hyde.
"It's hard," Gomez said. "When we first heard about it, nobody thought it was going to be him. I still can't believe it."
Employee Gloriana Burley said she and Hyde used to greet each other with nicknames.
"He'd say, 'Hey, Gloria G,' and I'd say, 'What's up, Billy B?' " Burley said. "He was a very soft-hearted person. I remember seeing him around Thanksgiving, on that Friday. On Saturday he was supposed to come to work, but we didn't see him and said that's not like him."
They called, but Hyde did not pick up his phone.
"That's when we knew something was wrong," Burley said. "I just couldn't believe it, up to now. I don't think he deserved it. He loves to help people."
Shivlani said he visited Hyde in the hospital during his last days on St. Thomas before he was flown to Miami on Dec. 5.
"They told us, 'Keep talking to him, keep touching him and see if he responds,' " Shivlani said.
Hyde never regained consciousness before he was taken off of life support and later died in a Miami hospital, according to police.
- Contact Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email email@example.com.Here is a timeline of events related to the fatal assault on St. Thomas resident William Hyde:
- Nov. 24, 2012: A resident finds Hyde badly beaten at 7 a.m. in a bathroom stall at Magens Bay beach. Hyde had no identification on him, and police asked for assistance from the public in determining his identity. Detectives said Hyde was in stable condition and "improving."
- Dec. 10-12: Police arrest five minors in connection with Hyde's beating. The minors are charged with attempted murder; first-degree assault; kidnapping; grand larceny; unauthorized use of a vehicle; possession of stolen property; possession of a stolen vehicle; and two counts each of using a dangerous weapon during a crime of violence. The boys are advised of their rights in Family Court, then released to their parents or guardians pending further court action.
- Dec. 14: Police report that Hyde has been taken off of life support at a stateside hospital but is "still hanging on."
- Dec. 17: Hyde, who had been hospitalized since the beating, dies. Police announce that detectives are communicating with the V.I. Attorney General's Office regarding the update in the case and that the Attorney General's Office will determine whether the charges against the suspects changes.
- Dec. 21: St. Thomas-St. John Criminal Division Chief Renee Gumbs-Carty says the case is "still going through the process of being investigated." She says the V.I. Justice Department has "already done most of the paperwork" for updating the charges, which she says she expects to happen within a week.
- Jan. 2, 2013: Chief Deputy Attorney General Wayne Anderson says the process of updating the charges still is ongoing. He says an update likely will occur by a Jan. 8 hearing in Family Court. "By then we should know where we're going," Anderson says.
- Jan. 8: Prosecutors ask for a continuance at the Family Court hearing. "We continued the matter for our own reasons that will be revealed at a later date," Anderson says.
- Jan. 18: V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer and Government House spokesman Jean Greaux Jr. deny that the delay in updating the charges has anything to do with one of the suspects being the son of an executive chauffeur for the office of Gov. John deJongh Jr. Frazer promises an update in the case "very soon."
- Feb. 1: Frazer says prosecutors have filed motions to upgrade the charges against the minors and to try them in V.I. Superior Court instead of Family Court. He says his office still is waiting on a ruling on the motions.