As murder suspect Renell Lettsomes trial date nears, officials involved with the case have confirmed that Amber Taylor, one of the prosecutions main witnesses, will be on island to testify. Taylor, Lettsomes girlfriend at the time of the murder and the mother of his son, gave an affidavit to authorities alleging that Lettsome had confessed the crime to her.
Amber will be here to testify, said Bason, chief of the criminal division for St. Thomas and St. John, who is prosecuting the case.
Taylor In a Secret Place
Taylor has not been seen on St. John since early November, 2005, and Bason would not comment on her current whereabouts.
Shes off in a secret place, the prosecutor said.
In addition to Taylors affidavit, the prosecution won a suppression hearing in March which allows statements that Lettsome made to police officers to be used in court.
Lettsome made a total of six statements to both U.S.V.I. Police Department and British Virgin Islands Police Department officials, in which he admits his guilt, V.I. Assistant Attorney General Ernest Bason said.
Lettsome is accused of bludgeoning St. John businessman David Geiger to death and severely beating his teenage son Nathan during the early morning hours of October 29, 2005.
Lettsome turned himself in to police in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands in late November 2005 and was extradited to the U.S.V.I.
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 jail, unable to post a $1 million bail.
The prosecution alleges that after the murder, Lettsome returned to Geigers house with Robert Ferguson and Nestor Colaire, and the three set the home on fire to conceal the crime, leaving the unconscious Nathan inside.
Colaire, who was sent back to prison after breaking the rules of his release, also remains in the correctional facility on St. Thomas. Ferguson was released on an unsecured bond. Their trials were joined and will be scheduled after the conclusion of Lettsomes. Bason will prosecute those cases.
Taylor house sat for Geiger a week before he was murdered, according to her lengthy affidavit, which recounts the events leading up to and immediately following the murder.
A large amount of cash was stolen from Geigers Estate Grunwald residence while Taylor was house sitting. Taylor said it was taken by her then-mechanic and friend Tullius Stewart, according to her affidavit. Stewart, who pled not guilty to grand larceny, was arrested after he returned to the territory from California and was quickly released on his own recognizance.
Coral Bay Confrontation
After Geiger returned from the mainland, he allegedly confronted Taylor about the missing money at her mothers painted t-shirt store in Coral Bay and Lettsome was present at the time, Taylor said in her affidavit.
The affidavit goes on to recount how Taylor and Lettsome, along with their son and Taylors son with a different father, traveled to St. Thomas and checked into a hotel the day before the murder, on October 28, 2005.
Lettsome traveled back to St. John that afternoon alone and returned to the St. Thomas hotel the next morning, wearing different clothes and with a large cut on his hand, Taylor said in her affidavit.
When he returned to the hotel, Lettsome confessed to killing Geiger, beating Nathan, and setting fire to their house with Ferguson and Colaire, according to Taylors affidavit.
No Deal with Taylor
The prosecution did not make a deal with Taylor, leaving open the possibility that she will face charges in the future, according to Bason.
The prosecution is awaiting the results of DNA tests from federal agents, which are due in the territory at the end of the month, Bason added.
We expect the DNA results to be here soon and everything seems to be in place, he said. Were ready to go.
Jury selection for Lettsomes trial will be on Friday, August 4, and the trial is set to begin on Monday, August 7, at 9 a.m.