William Hyde slaying Magens Bay slaying suspects to be tried as adults
Published: March 4, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - The charges against five boys filed in connection with the fatal November beating of St. Thomas resident William Hyde were upgraded, according to prosecutors.
Renee Gumbs-Carty, chief of the V.I. Justice Department's St. Thomas-St. John criminal division, confirmed Friday that Family Court Judge Debra Smith-Watlington granted the prosecution's request to transfer the juveniles to adult criminal court. The juveniles were remanded to the Youth Rehabilitation Center on St. Croix, Gumbs-Carty said.
She would not provide the suspects' names, and Smith-Watlington's order had not been filed in Superior Court as of press time Friday, so no public court records were available to corroborate or further explain the information from Gumbs-Carty.
Gumbs-Carty said she did not have the files in front of her to discuss the specific new charges against the juveniles. Subsequent attempts to reach her were not successful.
Attorney General Vincent Frazer, who referred questions for this story to Gumbs-Carty, said in a prior interview that prosecutors had petitioned the court for charges of "homicide of some sort" against the youths.
Initially, The 16- and 17-year-old suspects were charged as juveniles on Dec. 10 and Dec. 12 with attempted murder; 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.
V.I. Police Department spokeswoman Melody Rames said police had no further information about the case and referred questions to the Justice Department or the V.I. Corrections Bureau.
The development is a step toward putting to rest months of speculation and piecemeal information about how prosecutors planned to deal with the Hyde case.
About a week after the arrests, Hyde died of his injuries, but the suspects were not immediately charged with more serious crimes that would encompass the victim's death.
In the months following Hyde's death, Frazer maintained that prosecutors were working to upgrade the charges.
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."
- Contact reporter Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email email@example.com.Events related to the fatal assault on St. Thomas resident William Hyde:
- Nov. 24, 2012: A resident finds Hyde badly beaten at 7 a.m. in a bathroom stall at Magens Bay beach. Hyde had no identification on him, and police asked for assistance from the public in determining his identity. Detectives said Hyde was in stable condition and "improving."
- Dec. 10-12: Police arrest five boys in connection with Hyde's beating. They are charged with attempted murder; 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. The boys are advised of their rights in Family Court, then released to their parents or guardians pending further court action.
- Dec. 14: Police report that Hyde has been taken off of life support at a stateside hospital but is "still hanging on."
- Dec. 17: Hyde, who had been hospitalized since the beating, dies. Police announce that detectives are communicating with the V.I. Attorney General's Office regarding the update in the case and that the Attorney General's Office will determine whether the charges against the suspects changes.
- Dec. 21: St. Thomas-St. John Criminal Division Chief Renee Gumbs-Carty says the case is "still going through the process of being investigated." She says the V.I. Justice Department has "already done most of the paperwork" for updating the charges, which she says she expects to happen within a week.
- Jan. 2, 2013: Chief Deputy Attorney General Wayne Anderson says the process of updating the charges still is ongoing. He says an update likely will occur by a Jan. 8 hearing in Family Court. "By then we should know where we're going," Anderson says.
- Jan. 8: Prosecutors ask for a continuance at the Family Court hearing. "We continued the matter for our own reasons that will be revealed at a later date," Anderson says.
- Jan. 18: V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer and Government House spokesman Jean Greaux Jr. deny that the delay in updating the charges has anything to do with one of the suspects being the son of an executive chauffeur for the office of Gov. John deJongh Jr. Frazer promises an update in the case "very soon."
- Feb. 1: Frazer says prosecutors have filed motions to upgrade the charges against the minors and to try them in V.I. Superior Court instead of Family Court. He says his office still is waiting on a ruling on the motions.
- Feb. 20: According to Frazer, prosecutors are still waiting for a ruling on the motions.
- Feb. 28: Family Court Judge Debra Smith-Watlington grants the prosecution motion to transfer the charges against the suspects to criminal court, according to Gumbs-Carty.