St. Croix man accused of setting woman's house on fire


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ST. CROIX - Police have arrested a 31-year-old man on charges that he set a woman's house on fire last month.

Wanson Harris, 31, of Pepper Tree Terrace, was advised of his rights by Magistrate Judge Jessica Gallivan on Monday on charges of second-degree arson, third-degree assault and disturbance of the peace by threats.

When Harris was arrested on Saturday, his initial bond was set in the arrest warrant at $100,000, but Gallivan allowed his release on a reduced bond of $50,000, which was agreed to by the prosecution and defense.

Gallivan also allowed Harris to post 10 percent of the bond in cash and sign an unsecured bond for the balance.

Gallivan conditioned the bail on Harris being released to a third-party custodian and ordered him to be placed on 24-hour house arrest without the use of an electronic monitoring device until one becomes available from the court.

Gallivan noted that Harris is a licensed owner of two firearms, and when he was arrested, only one firearm was confiscated. She said she will reserve signing the order for his release until the second gun is turned over to police and the bail is posted.

On Nov. 9, an Estate St. Georges man called emergency dispatchers and reported that he saw someone trying to burn down his neighbor's home.

V.I. Police Detective Leon Cruz said the caller told police he was walking to his own home when the caller saw a man, now identified as Harris, light a shirt and throw it on his neighbor's porch.

According to Cruz, the man confronted Harris and asked him what was going on. Harris mumbled something and when the caller asked him again what was going on, Harris pulled a handgun out of his waistband and told him to run, which he did, according to Cruz.

Harris matches the description of the arsonist, according to Cruz.

The homeowner told police that she was friends with Harris until recently, when they had a disagreement and she ended the friendship. Since then, he had been stalking and harassing her, according to Cruz.

Cruz said that earlier this month, an anonymous caller reported to Crime Stoppers USVI that the caller had personal information Harris set the house on fire.

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

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