Judge sets bail at $100K for St. Croix man accused of choking woman nearly to death

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ST. CROIX - Bail has been set at $100,000 for a 34-year-old man charged with assaulting and choking a woman almost to death Friday.

William Thelusma of Sion Hill appeared Tuesday before V.I. Superior Court Judge Robert Molloy, this time for a hearing on a motion seeking release on bail and setting conditions in the case in which he is charged with second-degree assault; simple assault; attempted murder; and possession of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence.

Assistant Public Defender Yolan Brow Ross asked the court to set bail at $15,000, pursuant to the domestic violence statute under which Thelusma was charged. She said he could be placed on a curfew with some monitoring and would surrender his passport and other documents that would prevent him from leaving the territory.

Assistant Attorney General Cornelius Evans objected to the request, telling the court that the crimes that Thelusma is charged with are serious and his limited ties to the territory make him a flight risk. He told the judge, while he did not have a specific recommendation on what bail should be, it needed to be more than $15,000.

Brow said Thelusma is from the Bahamas and has been in the territory for only a year, but he owns a Christiansted night club, which increases his ties and investment in the community.

Molloy said he had taken all factors into consideration based on arguments from both sides and ruled that Thelusma is not only a danger but a flight risk.

The judge set bail at $100,000 and said he would require that Thelusma post no less than $15,000 in cash to satisfy the bail amount. Molloy also required a third-party custodian be responsible for Thelusma's actions and he would be placed on 24-hour curfew with the use of a GPS monitoring device.

Ross said Thelusma is not in a position to afford to post the high bail amount, especially when he also must pay for the monitoring device and will not be able to go to his establishment because of the curfew. She said the conditions and amount of bail will implicitly place him in jail pending the outcome of the final disposition of the case against him.

The charges stem from a report made to police Friday in which a woman reported that Thelusma tried to kill her.

According to a report filed by V.I. Police Detective Gregory Charlery, the woman told police that during an argument Thelusma slapped her face repeatedly, dragged her around, threatened her with scissors and then grabbed her by her throat, lifted her off the ground, slammed her onto a bed and choked her until she lost consciousness.

He has denied the allegations.

Thelusma faces more than 40 years in prison if tried and convicted of the charges against him.

His arraignment has been scheduled for Sept. 3.

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

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