Trial for man charged in fatal shooting near Metropolis nightclub begins today
Published: September 9, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - The trial for the man accused of shooting and killing a 22-year-old man near Metropolis nightclub in December is set to begin today.
Dyhani Heyliger, who was 23 at the time of the incident, is charged with first- and second-degree murder, three counts each of first- and third-degree assault, six counts of unauthorized use of a firearm and one count of reckless endangerment, according to court documents.
The victim, Keith Dawson Jr., died of a single gun shot wound to the neck in the early morning hours of Dec. 8, 2012.
Dawson may only have been a bystander, with Heyliger instead targeting and missing Shaquille Alexander Percell, also known as "Reds," when Heyliger allegedly shot Dawson, according to court documents.
Percell was arrested in February on charges of illegal discharge of a weapon, possession of a firearm during a commission of a crime of violence, possession of an unlicensed firearm and reckless endangerment.
Percell also had come forward before to police as an "unnamed witness" and told police that he had been hanging out with Dawson and another man named "Sousi," later identified as Rashawn Francis, just before the shooting, which occurred in the Doctor's Choice Pharmacy parking lot next to Metropolis nightclub after it closed at about 4 a.m. the morning of the incident.
When Percell saw Francis and some other men pacing in the parking lot, Percell told Dawson to "go get the gun," according to court documents. The report did not detail where the gun was located, or how Dawson knew where to find the gun.
Dawson retrieved the gun and gave it to Percell. Percell said that he saw Heyliger fire shots shortly thereafter and Dawson was hit.
Dawson was transported to the hospital and died from the single gunshot wound to the neck.
Court documents were unavailable to The Daily News on Friday, as they already were in Judge Michael Dunston's chambers.
Heyliger's name was entered into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection database as a murder suspect following the incident, and V.I. police arrested him after he attempted to board a flight for Atlanta on Jan. 25.
Dunston will be overseeing the jury trial, while Assistant Attorney General Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte will be prosecuting and attorney Clive Rivers will be defending Heyliger.
The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. today in V.I. Superior Court.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email email@example.com.