Man arrested as juvenile on trial today for attempted murder of man, 50


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ST. CROIX - Jury selection and trial is expected to begin today in the case of a 19-year-old man charged with the attempted murder of another man just more than two years ago.

The case against Leozardise Casanova is expected to go forward before Presiding V.I. Superior Court Judge Darryl Donohue and the trial is expected to last just a few days.

Casanova of JFK housing community was on a day pass from the Youth Rehabilitation Center on Thanksgiving 2010, when police say he shot a man.

He was 16 at the time of the incident and was originally arrested Dec. 1, 2010 as a minor in connection with the shooting near the ice plant in Estate Richmond, but was bound over two months later to face charges as an adult.

Casanova is charged with attempted murder; first-degree assault; third-degree assault; reckless endangerment; possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence; unauthorized possession of a firearm; and discharging or aiming firearms.

According to police reports, the 50-year-old victim told police that a boy that he did not know started an argument with him and then pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the man's head.

The boy pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire, the victim reported.

However, the gun worked almost immediately after the original misfire, and the teen fired a number of shots as the victim ran away, striking him in the hip and inner thigh, police said. The man was able to identify Casanova as the person who shot him, according to police.

The crime occurred while Casanova had been released from YRC on a 10-hour pass - from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. - along with a number of other YRC inmates to spend Thanksgiving Day with their families, V.I. Human Services Commissioner Christopher Finch told The Daily News at the time.

Casanova had been incarcerated at YRC since January 2010, when he was sentenced to stay there until his 18th birthday for breaking into a vehicle in Christiansted and taking a licensed handgun along with a number of other items, according to police. In that incident, police arrested him shortly after the break-in, and the boy had the stolen weapon tucked into the waist of his pants.

In the shooting case, Casanova returned to YRC and was arrested there days later, after the victim identified him.

He since has turned 18 and his age, coupled with the upgraded charges, have landed him at the Adult Correctional facility, where he remains unable to post $75,000 bail.

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

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