Judge increases bail to $1.5 million for man charged in Frederiksted murder


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ST. CROIX - A judge Monday increased the bail for 22-year-old Angel Ilarraza, who is accused of gunning down a man in Frederiksted earlier this year, to $1.5 million.

The prosecution asked for the higher bail - it had been set at $1 million in the warrant on which Ilarraza was arrested - and V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks granted the request, noting Ilarraza's criminal history.

Ilarraza was arrested in Florida on a warrant charging him with first-degree murder and other crimes in connection with the Feb. 1 murder of Wellington Pennyfeather Jr. He was returned to the territory Friday afternoon.

On Monday, Willocks advised Ilarraza of his rights on charges in two different cases stemming from the crime.

In one case, Ilarraza is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, unauthorized possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, first-degree reckless endangerment and unauthorized possession of a weapon within 1,000 feet of a school zone. That is the case with the $1.5 million bail.

Court documents allege that Angel Ilarraza, Juan Ilarraza, and Ronald Bogan shot Pennyfeather on Feb. 1 while robbing Pennyfeather of his gold chain and pendant.

In the second case, Ilarraza is charged with possession of stolen property. He is accused of having the gold chain and pendant in his possession. Bail in that case is set at $10,000.

Also on Monday, Angel Ilarraza's attorney asked to go ahead with his arraignment. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

At 7:37 p.m. on Feb. 1, Frederiksted residents reported hearing multiple gunshots ring out into the night.

When officers arrived, they found Pennyfeather's body laying in the road near the intersection of Market and Queen streets.

Police said that when shots were fired, Pennyfeather tried to run south on Queen Street, but was hit by a bullet and fell to the ground.

The affidavit in support of the warrants charging the Ilarrazas and Bogan remained under seal by court order Monday afternoon.

Juan Ilarraza was also arrested in Florida on a warrant and made his initial court appearance before Willocks on March 27, facing the same charges. Weeks earlier, Bogan made his initial court appearance, also facing the same charges. Bogan was extradited from Puerto Rico, where police say he fled as he tried to evade capture.

Juan Ilarraza and Bogan are being held on $1 million bail.

According to court documents, Angel Ilarraza has been charged with murder in the past.

He and three other men were charged in 2008 in the January 2007 stabbing death of Jovan Joseph at the Crucian Christmas Festival Village.

Court documents indicate that although Angel Ilarraza was initially charged with murder in that case, the charge was later amended to involuntary manslaughter and in 2010, he was sentenced to four years in prison, receiving credit for 1,105 days of pre-trial detention that he had already served. Angel Ilarraza was 15 when Joseph was killed.

Angel Ilarraza also went on trial in December on charges of reckless endangerment; carrying a dangerous weapon during the commission of a violent crime; unauthorized possession of a firearm; failure to report a firearm brought into the territory; unauthorized possession of ammunition; unauthorized use of a vehicle; and grand larceny in connection with an incident in Estate Profit housing community on Nov. 15, 2012.

More than three days into that trial, he opted to enter a plea agreement.

Angel Ilarraza entered the plea to one count of first-degree reckless endangerment, under a special provision in which he maintains his innocence in the case but acknowledged that the evidence against him is such that a reasonable jury could convict him of the crime.

The other charges in that case were dropped and Angel Ilarraza was sentenced to time he had spent in jail - just more than a year - while awaiting trial.

On Monday, Willocks set jury selection and trial in the Pennyfeather murder case for May 18, 2015.

- Contact reporter Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email jblackburn@dailynews.vi.

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