Federal Delay Leads To Postponement of Murder Suspect Lettsome’s Trial

Due to a federal snafu, murder suspect Renell Lettsome’s trial — originally set to begin on Monday, June 12 — has been postponed until August, according to the criminal division chief for St. Thomas and St. John.

“We got a motion to continue until August 7,” said Assistant Attorney General Ernest Bason, who will prosecute the case. “We didn’t get the DNA tests back from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lab.”

DNA Results Not Back
DNA tests from the FBI’s lab in Virginia were expected in the territory last month, Bason added.

“I made the motion because I didn’t receive the DNA tests,” he said.

The test results are now expected sometime in July, Bason explained.

“Once we get the lab results we’re all set,” he said. “Everything else is ready to go.”

Jury selection will be on Friday, August 4, and the trial will begin on Monday, August 7, before V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar.

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 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 remains in the St. Thomas Correctional Facility.

Trials for the three other cases related to the Geiger murder will not be scheduled until after Lettsome’s case is decided, according to Bason.

“We need to have different jury pools, so the judge will wait until after Lettsome’s case to schedule the other trials,” he said.

Robert Ferguson and Nestor Colaire were also arrested in connection with the Geiger murder case. The men are accused of returning to Geiger’s house with Lettsome and setting the home on fire to hide the crime, leaving the unconscious Nathan inside.

Ferguson, who has been released from jail on an unsecured bond, and Colaire face charges of attempted murder, arson, and being an accessory after the fact. Both men’s trials will be joined and prosecuted by Bason.

Colaire Back in Prison
Colaire recently came under legal scrutiny once again and has been accused of violating the terms of his probation which include a curfew and daily check-ins with the V.I. Police Department.

Colaire allegedly broke his curfew and threatened a former co-worker. In a hearing on Thursday, June 8, V.I. Superior Court Judge Rhys Hodge revoked the suspect’s bail and remanded him back to the Bureau of Corrections until his trial, which is tentatively set for September (see related story this week).

Stewart Tried Separately
Tullius Stewart, accused of stealing money from Geiger’s 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.