Renell Lettsome, who is accused of the October 29 murder of David Geiger and the attempted murder of his teenage son, pleaded not guilty in Superior Court on Thursday, December 8, the same day that his younger brother was arrested for attempted murder.
Lettsome, 21, appeared before Superior Court Judge Rhys Hodge and pleaded not guilty to all 12 counts which include murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, assault in the first degree, assault in the third degree, arson and using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence. He also requested a trial by jury.
Unable to post his $1 million bail, Lettsome was remanded to the corrections facility on St. Thomas. There is no capital punishment in the U.S.V.I., so the stiffest penalty for Lettsome would be life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The murder suspect contacted British Virgin Islands police officials on November 27 on Tortola and was returned to the USVI on November 30 when he was arrested and his bail set at $1 million.
Lettsomes Younger Brother Arrested
Lettsomes 19-year-old brother, Robert Ferguson, a St. John resident, was arrested on December 8 after he returned to the Virgin Islands from Florida, according to printed reports. He faces charges of first degree attempted murder, accessory after the fact and arson.
After Lettsome beat David Geiger to death and severely beat his 14-year-old son Nathan in their Estate Grunwald home on October 29, he went to his friend Nester Colaires Pastory home, according to an affidavit by Lettsomes girlfriend, Amber Taylor.
Lettsome and Colaire woke Ferguson and the three returned to Geigers house, removed the murder weapon and set the home on fire to cover up the crime, Taylor explained in the affidavit.
Fourteen-year-old Nathan Geiger was left unconscious in the burning home. He continues to recover from serious injuries and is with family.
Colaire Still At Large
Colaire has an outstanding arrest warrant for charges of attempted murder, accessory after the fact and arson. He is a Dominica native who remains at large and is rumored to be on his home island.
Arrest warrants for Ferguson and Colaire were issued on November 17, the same day warrants were issued for Lettsome and Tullius Stewart.
Stewart is accused of stealing about $50,000 from Geigers home while Taylor was house sitting. Taylor house-sat for Geiger from Thursday, October 20, until Tuesday, October 25, while Geiger was off-island.
On Sunday, October 23, Stewart came to the house and took up a beige pan that Taylor knew contained thousands of dollars from the kitchen cabinet, Lettsomes girlfriend said in her affidavit.
Amber Taylors Affidavit
There were about five to eight envelopes, each marked $5,000, in the pan, according to Taylors affidavit which is about five and one half pages long and details the events leading up to the murder as well as the murder, beating and arson.
Lettsome and Taylor, who has not been seen on St. John for more than three weeks, have a young son together. When Geiger returned to St. John on Tuesday, October 25, he thought that Taylor stole the money while she was house sitting, according to close friends of the victim.
Geiger confronted Taylor on October 25 at her mothers Coral Bay clothing store, JuJu Mon, in front of Lettsome.
Taylor has not been named as a suspect in the case, but has not made a deal or plea, according to Ernest Bason, Chief of the Criminal Division of the V.I. Attorney Generals Office.
Stewart returned to the territory from Sacramento, California on November 24 and was arrested on charges of grand larceny and possession of stolen property. His bail was set at $100,000.
Stewarts Bail Dropped
At Stewarts advice of rights hearing on November 25, Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall dropped the bail and released the suspect on his own recognizance. Stewart pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing on December 1.
V.I. Police Department officials are still investigating the case and ask anyone with information to contact the Major Crimes Unit at 715-5534 or 715-5546.