Suspect in St. Croix homicide arrested in Florida


Font size: [A] [A] [A]

ST. CROIX - Federal and local law enforcement officers have arrested a second person they believe fled the territory to avoid arrest and prosecution in a shooting death in Frederiksted on Feb. 1.

Juan Ilarraza, 24, was taken into custody in Orlando, Fla., by officers with the Orange County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday afternoon after it was determined that he was the same person wanted on St. Croix in connection with a first-degree murder.

St. Croix Police Chief James Parris confirmed Friday that Ilarraza's arrest was in connection with the fatal shooting of Wellington Pennyfeather Jr., who was gunned down during an argument.

While the V.I. Police Department has not released a motive for the killing, police officials in Florida said the case surrounds the robbery of a person in the territory with a gold medallion but had no additional information .

Just a week ago - on March 6 - Ronald "Indu" Bogan, 19, of William's Delight made his initial court appearance in V.I. Superior Court after being arrested and extradited from Puerto Rico.

He was advised of his rights by V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks on charges of first-degree murder; first-degree assault; third-degree assault; unauthorized possession of a firearm; carrying a dangerous weapon during the commission of a violent crime; failure to report a firearm brought into the territory; possession of ammunition; first-degree reckless endangerment; and unauthorized possession of a firearm within 100 feet of a school, namely St. Patrick's Catholic School.

The affidavit in support of the warrants in connection with the crime and arrests remain under seal by order of the court, making details about the specifics of how the crime was carried out and who may be involved available to only the defense and prosecuting attorneys.

At the time of Pennyfeather's murder, V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said residents in the Frederiksted area reported hearing multiple gunshots about 7:37 p.m.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found the body of a man - now identified as Pennyfeather - laying in the road near the intersection of Market and Queen streets.

Rames said witnesses told police there was an altercation between Pennyfeather and at least one other man, and when shots were fired, Pennyfeather began to run away from the area, heading south on Queen Street, when he was struck and fell to the ground.

Bogan subsequently was arrested with the help of Vieques and Puerto Rico Police officers, and his bail was set at $1 million. He was considered a flight risk during the hearing after Deputy Attorney General Bruce Marshack said he fled the territory using a small boat some time after the murder to avoid prosecution.

He has since entered a not-guilty plea and remains jailed, unable to post bail.

Bail for Ilarraza has been set at the same amount pursuant to the warrant as he awaits extradition to the territory.

Police at this time are not revealing whether other outstanding warrants exist in the case or whether they believe Bogan and Illaraza were the only two people responsible for Pennyfeather's death.

Anyone with information about the fatal shooting can call detectives at 712-6030 or 712-6077 or call the Crime Stoppers USVI confidential tip line at 1-800-222-8477.

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

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
\

Best of the VI

Best of the VI: After more than 100,000 text and Facebook votes were cast, it is time to unveil the winners.

Daily News

Try our e-newspaper delivered to you every day

Island Trader

Good stuff, best buys, great fun

Crucian Trader

Celebrating St. Croix History, Culture and People

Island Action

Your complete guide to where to go and what to do this week in the Virgin Islands.