Mainland politicians announce reward in St. John homicide


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ST. THOMAS - New Jersey politicians have announced a $25,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest and conviction in a recent St. John murder case.

The reward announcement also was the second time that Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., rallied for support of the Malfetti family, after James Malfetti III was murdered in late January in his St. John home.

Menendez joined the Malfetti family last month in publicly criticizing the V.I. Police Department for its lack of competency in handling the investigation, and also for its lack of communication with the family.

Menendez also wrote a letter to FBI Director James Comey, asking that the bureau assist the department.

V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames could not be reached Friday evening to speak on behalf of the police or provide an update on the progress of the investigation into Malfetti's death.

Malfetti, who owned his own consulting business, was found dead in his Chocolate Hole guest house Jan. 19, according to police reports.

Police initially classified the incident as a suspicious death, then two days later reclassified it as a murder after further inspecting the body and saying Malfetti suffered several "puncture wounds" to the neck.

The family said that the police inaccurately reported Malfetti's date of death as Jan. 19, and they believe he actually died Jan. 18, when police received a report of a home invasion at the same residence. The police at the time did not check the guest house of the residence where Malfetti was staying, the family contends.

"The Malfetti family deserves answers and they deserve justice," U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said in a prepared statement sent out Friday evening by Menendez's office.

The Malfetti family started a Facebook page, Justice for Jimmy Malfetti, to bring awareness to the case. Already, the family has garnered more than 2,500 likes on the page.

Additionally, the family has been advertising bumper stickers that depict a rendering of Malfetti paddleboarding. The page also advertises the reward, but it is unclear who is providing the reward.

Anyone with information about Malfetti's murder can call the Crime Stoppers USVI anonymous tip line at 1-800-222-8477.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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