Murder Suspect on St. Croix Arrested, Second Suspect Wanted

A suspect in a murder investigation on St. Croix was arrested and charged with murder on Friday, police say. An arrest warrant has been issued for the second suspect, but his whereabouts are unknown.

Ozanie I. Cornelius, 27, was arrested without incident at his residence on early Friday morning. The police also had an arrest warrant and search warrant for Ricardo Richards, 25, but the police were unable to locate him.

Chief Detective Lt. Joseph stated, “This case stems from the January 17, 2022, murders of Odonnie Heywood and Jah’ny Ledesma, both 17 years old, who were shot multiple times while driving through Old Castle Coakley. They were stopped and approached by Cornelius and Richards, who were both heavily armed, Cornelius with a handgun and Richards with a high-powered rifle.”

Chief Detective Lt Joseph further stated, “There were also similarly armed individuals on top of the two-story building in the area, and they all opened fire on the vehicle containing two minors and the adult driver. We collected over two hundred spent casings from the crime scene, and the majority was from a high-powered rifle. Mr. Richards also sought medical attention for a gunshot wound that night, however, claimed that he was shot at Thomas’s Bakery in Old Castle Coakley. The minors died instantly, and the adult survived from the multiple gunshot wounds that he sustained.”

Cornelius was charged with murder, attempted murder, assault, carrying or using a dangerous weapon, and unauthorized possession of a firearm.

Cornelius was unable to post a $2.5 million bail and was transported to the John Bell Correctional Facility pending his advice of rights hearing on Aug. 29.

Anyone with information about these homicides or the whereabouts of Ricardo Richards, please call the CIB Tip-line 340-778-4850, 340-712-6092 or Crime stoppers VI 1-800-222 TIPS or 911.