Ex-VIPD Capt. Enrique Saldana charged with murdering his wife
Published: May 3, 2014
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ST. THOMAS - V.I. Police arrested former police Capt. Enrique Saldana and charged him with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife Friday morning.
Saldana, 51, recently was released from prison after serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for extortion.
On Friday, Saldana was arrested about 6 p.m. and remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Corrections pending his advice-of-rights hearing.
Police were notified of the incident at 7:43 a.m. on Friday, when Emergency 911 dispatchers received a call from a man at the Food Center Supermarket in Estate Fredenhoj.
The caller said his girlfriend was not breathing and requested an escort to the hospital. The man, who later was identified as Saldana, was escorted to Schneider Hospital by a law enforcement officer.
Police said Saldana told responding officers at the hospital that he was at Vessup Beach with his wife, 43-year-old Jeanette Magras-Saldana and that while they were at the beach his wife collapsed and stopped breathing.
Emergency Room medical staff pronounced Magras-Saldana dead on arrival.
The medical staff said Magras-Saldana's body had several bruises, according to police.
Saldana was detained for questioning and later provided detectives with a statement, police said.
According to police, preliminary investigation revealed that Magras-Saldana had multiple bodily injuries, some of which caused severe black-and-blue bruising, and she appeared to have died several hours prior to her arrival at the hospital.
The exact cause of death has not yet been determined pending completion of an autopsy, police said.
In addition to second-degree murder, Saldana also was charged with voluntary manslaughter, first-degree assault and third-degree assault. His bail was set at $500,000.
Detectives continue to investigate the case, and anyone with information can contact the Major Crimes Unit at 642-8449 or 911 or call the Crime Stoppers USVI anonymous tip line at 1-800-222-8477.
Saldana and V.I. Police Sgt. George Greene Jr. were convicted in January 2010 of obstruction of justice, extortion and bribery.
Saldana and Greene - along with Louis Roldan, who was shot to death and his body set afire in his car on St. Croix in July 2010 - tried to extort money in December 2008 from Richard Motta, an associate of missing Realtor Rosemary Sauter.
The defendants were convicted of trying to extort $5,000 from Motta in a sham narcotics deal involving FBI cash.
Greene also was convicted of making a false statement and money laundering.
Saldana was sentenced to 41 months imprisonment March 18, 2011; Greene was sentenced to 36 months incarceration May 3, 2011.
Saldana and Greene appealed their convictions, alleging the trial violated their Sixth Amendment rights, but the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied their appeals.