St. Croix police arrest man charged with assaulting pregnant woman
Published: October 4, 2013
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ST. CROIX - A 20-year old man remains jailed on $50,000 bail after a pregnant woman reported to police that he assaulted her and locked her in her home.
Bernardis Cruel of Estate Whim appeared before Magistrate Miguel Camacho on Thursday morning and was advised of his rights on charges of second-degree assault, destruction of property and false imprisonment, all as acts of domestic violence.
According to the probable cause fact sheet filed in court by V.I. Police Officer Moses Francis, a woman reported to police that she and Cruel had been involved in an argument and as it escalated, he struck her with is hands and pushed her on the steps of the apartment.
She said he continued to curse at her then placed his hands around her neck and squeezed, she said she struggled to get up and he choked her and slammed her to the floor, then continued choking her until she lost consciousness briefly then began vomiting because her throat had gotten so dry, police said.
The woman said she tried to leave the apartment, but Cruel locked her inside and refused to let her out, even after several attempts. When she did get out, she ran to a neighbor's apartment, where she called 911 for assistance, according to the report.
Francis said he saw contusions to the woman's left eye and scratches and red marks on her left arm.
He said Cruel was picked up for questioning by police and gave a statement admitting to being involved in an argument with the woman, but said he did not hit her, choke her or lock her inside the house.
Bail was not initially was not set at the time of the arrest because it was a domestic violence charge. At Cruel's advice-of-rights hearing, Assistant Public Defender Yolan Brow Ross asked the court to set bail at $1,000 because it is an act of domestic violence.
Assistant Attorney General Melissa Ortiz objected to the request, saying that the crimes are serious and that the woman reported that she is pregnant, which aggravates the circumstances.
Brow asked to have Cruel released on an unsecured bond in the amount of bail to the third-party custody of his mother.
Camacho denied the request saying that he would make a 10 percent provision to post the bail, requiring Cruel or his custodian to post $5,000 cash in order to be released.
He remains jailed unable to meet the conditions of release in the case.
- Contact Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.