Twin brothers sentenced to probation in shooting
Published: September 28, 2012
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ST. CROIX - Twin brothers accused of shooting a man in the face in Estate Little Princess almost year ago were sentenced to probation in V.I. Superior Court on Thursday.
I'ko Matthias and I'koyo Matthias, both 20, appeared before V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks and were sentenced to a suspended five-year prison sentence and placed on five years of probation.
The men initially were charged with third-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, possession of ammunition and unauthorized possession of a firearm during a violent crime stemming from a November 2011 incident. In July, they each accepted a plea deal offered by prosecutors and agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of possession of ammunition. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against them.
According to an affidavit filed by V.I. Police Detective Cureene Smith, the charges stemmed from a Nov. 14, 2011, incident in which a man told police that he was walking to Five Corners from his house in Little Princess when the Matthias brothers threatened him. One of the brothers lifted up his shirt to show the victim a gun tucked into his pants and said, "We are going to get you," according to the affidavit.
The victim said he got a ride back to his home minutes later, about 8:30 a.m., and as he walked into his yard, he saw a black Jeep Cherokee pull up the street, turn around and stop in the road, according to Smith. I'ko Matthias, who was sitting in the passenger seat, jumped out of the car and fired a shot at the man, according to Smith.
The bullet grazed the victim's right cheek, just below his eye, and the gunman then tried to fire another shot at the man, but the gun jammed, Smith said.
The victim refused medical attention, according to police.
In a photo array, the victim identified I'ko Matthias as the man who shot at him, Smith said. I'koyo was the driver, according to police.
Police executed a warrant at the Matthias' home in Estate Golden Rock and arrested the brothers.
In pleading guilty to the ammunition charge, the men had to admit only that they possessed a bullet. Each of them told the judge that they had found the .357-caliber bullets some years before and that they did not know it was illegal to possess bullets at that time.
According to the plea agreement, Assistant Attorney General Kippy Roberson, as well as defense attorneys Yolan Brow-Ross and Michael Sanford, reserved their right for a full allocution, and at the time of sentencing all of the facts of the case could have been brought up in consideration of the sentencing imposed.
Sanford and Brow-Ross both asked the court for probation on behalf of their clients, calling the conviction a result of a mistake of their youth. Roberson, however, said he had no further statements to make at the time of sentencing.
Before imposing a sentence, Willocks said he was well aware of the full circumstances of the incident and their arrests but would not use that in considering a sentence for the men. He cautioned them to get their lives on the straight path before it is too late and they find themselves spending the rest of their lives in prison.
Since the July plea hearing, I'ko Matthias was arrested in August and charged with unauthorized possession of a firearm after police went to execute a search and arrested warrant in connection with a shootout and found him with a gun, according to police reports. He remains detained on that charge.
Willocks said he also did not take that subsequent arrest into consideration because all defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
Following the sentencing, Willocks granted a renewed motion for release that now placed I'ko Matthias on 24-hour house arrest with the use of a GPS electronic monitoring device pending the outcome of the firearm charge.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.