Murder suspect Renell Lettsome had until Monday, May 8, to accept or reject the plea deal that he was offered in the David Geiger murder and attempted murder of his teenage son, according to Assistant Attorney General Ernest Bason, chief of the Legal Division for St. Thomas and St. John.
Lettsome, 21, is accused of bludgeoning St. John businessman David Geiger to death, severely beating his teenage son, Nathan, and setting their Estate Grunwald home on fire with the help of two other men to conceal the crime during the early-morning hours of October 29, 2005.
Lettsome faces 12 criminal felony counts with penalties ranging from life in prison without parole for first degree murder to a minimum of five years for second degree murder.
He has until May 8 to decide if he is going to accept the plea deal, said Bason. Then, its off the table.
Deadline Extended Twice
Bason would not comment on the specifics of the plea bargain until Lettsome makes a decision.
April 6 was the original deadline for the plea deal decision. Lettsomes defense attorney, Pedro Williams, had the original deadline extended to April 18. Williams filed another motion to extend that deadline and this should be the final date, Bason explained.
Bason is gearing up for the case to go to trial before V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar.
I am preparing for trial, he said. I think it is going to go to trial. He (defense attorney Williams) asked for an investigator and to me that indicates that we are heading to court.
Lettsomes defense attorney filed motions for a psychological evaluation and for the services of a private investigator, which Bason explained were routine acts.
Hollar denied the psychological evaluation, but did grant the use of a private investigator. Bason said that he does know what information, if any, the private investigation has discovered.
I wont know until the trial, he said. I wont know until we get there.
Jury selection for the case is scheduled for Friday, June 9, and the trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 12.
No Trial Date Set for Alleged Cohorts
Trials for the three other cases related to the Geiger murder will not be scheduled until after Lettsomes case is decided, according to Bason.
We need to have different jury pools, so the judge will wait until after Lettsomes case to schedule the other trials, he said.
Robert Ferguson and Nestor Colaireboth released from custody on unsecured bondswere also arrested in connection with the case. The men are accused of returning to Geigers house with Lettsome and setting the home on fire to conceal the crime, leaving the unconscious Nathan inside.
Ferguson and Colairewhose trials will be joined and prosecuted by Basonface charges of attempted murder, arson and being an accessory after the fact.
Stewart Case Separate
Tullius Stewart, accused of stealing a large amount of money from Geigers home about one week before the murder, was the fourth person arrested in relation to this case.
Stewart, whose case will be tried separately by Assistant Attorney General Courtney Reese, was released from prison on his own recognizance.