Still no murder charges in brutal Magens Bay beating
Published: January 9, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - More than three weeks after William Hyde died from injuries suffered during a vicious beating at Magens Bay beach, prosecutors on Tuesday asked to continue a hearing in which new charges could have been brought against five boys arrested in connection with case.
"We continued the matter for our own reasons that will be revealed at a later date," Chief Deputy Attorney General Wayne Anderson said.
Police and prosecutors have said for more than two weeks that they expect to update the charges against five 16- and 17-year-old suspects who have been charged with several crimes, including attempted murder, in connection with the beating of the 65-year-old St. Thomas resident.
Hyde was found Nov. 24 unresponsive and without identification in a bathroom stall at Magens Bay beach. Police said he was beaten after he agreed to give a ride to one of the boys, whom Hyde knew, and four other boys got into Hyde's truck and forced him to drive to Magens Bay, where they attacked him.
On Tuesday, St. Thomas Police Chief Darren Foy said he would not describe Hyde's beating as particularly brutal.
"No, I wouldn't think of it as particularly alarming," Foy said. "I just think it's something that occurred."
In addition to attempted murder, the five boys were charged with first-degree assault; kidnapping; grand larceny; unauthorized use of a vehicle; possession of stolen property; possession of a stolen vehicle; and two counts each of using a dangerous weapon during a crime of violence, according to V.I. Police.
The boys were arrested Dec. 10 and 11 and released to the custody of their parents.
Hyde died of his injuries on Dec. 17 after being taken off life support at a stateside hospital, according to V.I. Police. However, 22 days after Hyde died of his injuries, after being characterized as brain dead, the V.I. Attorney General's Office has not filed new or upgraded charges in the case, and has offered scant information as to its reasoning for not doing so.
Anderson said last week that he expected to know more about potentially updating the charges after a Family Court hearing Tuesday. These comments followed a statement by St. Thomas-St. John Criminal Division Chief Renee Gumbs-Carty on Dec. 21 that the case was "still going through the process of being investigated," but she expected new charges would be filed the following week.
Anderson remained tight-lipped about the case when reached for comment Tuesday.
"You've got to consider something - we're dealing with juveniles here so we can't discuss the case," Anderson said.
Anderson said the case "is not being delayed."
"We have our own strategy," Anderson said. "There are many things we have to consider. There have been a number of new developments that we're following that caused us to alert the court, and we decided to continue the matter."
Anderson said he did not know when the next hearing was scheduled.
The specific reasons for the lack of any prosecutorial action since Hyde's death remain unclear, but police have indicated the issue is not with their department.
"Basically the investigation is completed," Foy said Tuesday. "The major part of the investigation is completed, and now we're just waiting for whatever has to be done with the investigation. It's a process. It's not like it's not being done. It just takes a little time."
When asked for any further details about the case, Foy said police had nothing to add beyond the information that already has been released to the public.
Under V.I. law, Family Court automatically has original jurisdiction over any case in which a minor is accused of committing a delinquent act in the territory. Without a court order, law enforcement records in juvenile cases are not public "unless a charge of delinquency is transferred for criminal prosecution," the law states.
However, the law also requires such a transfer for certain Family Court cases involving minors age 14 or older who are charged with a felony such as murder in the first degree or an attempt to do so; rape in the first degree or an attempt to do so; aggravated rape or an attempt to do so; and possession or use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence - "irrespective of whether the minor has been previously adjudicated to be a delinquent."
If a case involves a suspect 14 or older and a crime of first-degree murder, rape, robbery, burglary, arson, aggravated rape, or possession or use of a firearm during a violent crime, but is not covered by the above provision of the law, the attorney general has five days to request the case be transferred to a criminal court and the decision then rests with the Family Court judge, the law states.
- Contact Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.