Trial of man accused in fatal shooting outside Metropolis nightclub on hold
Published: September 12, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - The trial for a man accused of shooting and killing a 22-year-old man outside a nightclub was put on hold Wednesday.
The trial of Dyhani Heyliger came to a halt because the V.I. Attorney General's Office closed from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday so staff could attend a memorial service in remembrance of recently deceased Assistant Attorney General Ernest Bason.
The trial will not resume in V.I. Superior Court until Friday, because Judge Michael Dunston is off the bench on Thursday. Dunston is scheduled to appear before the Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing, after being renominated to the bench to replace Judge Darryl Donohue Sr. as presiding judge of the Superior Court.
Heyliger, who was 23 at the time of the Dec. 8, 2012, shooting, sat quietly in court on Wednesday, the third day of the trial.
Heyliger is accused of shooting and killing Keith Dawson Jr. outside of the Metropolis Lounge nightclub after it closed its doors at about 4 a.m. the day of the shooting.
Heyliger is facing 15 charges, including: 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.
The prosecution thus far has brought forward an assortment of witnesses, including Shaquille Alexander Percell, also known as "Reds," who said he was with Dawson at the time that he was shot. Percell testified that he likely was the intended target of the shooting.
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.
According to court documents, Dawson may have been caught in a shootout between Heyliger and Percell.
Prosecutors presented video surveillance of the shootout in court on Tuesday and later presented the casings found at the crime scene.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations before the weekend.
Whatever the outcome, it likely will not change the fate of the Sub Base nightclub. Dawson's death, as well as other incidents, led V.I. Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard Sr. to petition the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs to revoke the club's business license.
The Metropolis Lounge was in business for less than a year before DLCA revoked the owner's "nightclub" license last month.
V.I. Police officials said that the nightclub will only be the first that they will be pursuing for revocation of their licenses because of recent issues with criminal incidents at the nightclubs.
Heyliger's trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Friday.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.