Robert Sells’ $25,000 Bail Revoked — Businessman in Prison Until Sentencing

St. John businessman Robert Sells’ bail was revoked on Monday, July 31, and he will remain in the St. Thomas correctional facility until his sentencing, which has not been set.

The sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for July 31, but Sells’ attorney, Treston Moore, made a motion to postpone sentencing in order to have time to file post-conviction motions and review a transcript of the trial, Moore previously told St. John Tradewinds.

V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar allowed the sentencing hearing to be postponed and heard testimony regarding a motion to revoke Sells’ bail, according to published reports.

Incidents After Trial
Frett testified Sells harassed her after the completion of the assault and battery trial — once while she was driving and twice while she was vending in the Franklin Powell Sr. Park during St. John Festival, according to reports.

Frett reportedly testified that in late June Sells passed her vehicle on Centerline Road, called her a name and threatened, “If I go to jail, you’re dead.”

Frett also reportedly testified to two incidents in which Sells and one of his friends harassed her during the St. John Festival, when she had a booth in the Frank Powell Park.

Sells denied the allegations, but Hollar said she believed Frett and ruled to revoke Sells’ bail, according to one report.

Convicted of Assault
Sells, who faces up to five years in jail, was convicted on June 20 of aggravated assault and battery and a felony enhancement charge that he committed the crime because of the victim’s race. He had been free on $25,000 bail.

Judge Hollar ruled Sells, who owned Close Reach Imports in Meada’s Plaza, intentionally bumped into neighboring business owner Esther Frett last year.

The business owners allegedly had an on-going feud which culminated in a “bumping” incident in June, 2005. Frett testified that Sells repeatedly harassed her with racial slurs and obscene gestures.

Felony Enhancement
The felony intimidation enhancement charge, which asserted that Sells assaulted Frett because of her race, was added to the original misdemeanor assault and battery charge in October 2005.

Sells also faced charges of disturbing Frett’s peace and an accompanying felony enhancement charge that he did so because of Frett’s race. He was found not guilty of those two charges and they were dismissed.

Judge Hollar, ruling the physical contact between Sells and Frett was intentional and Sells committed the act because of Frett’s race, set bail at $25,000.

After spending a night in the St. Thomas correctional facility, Sells had posted bail and returned to St. John on June 21.

Sells now will remain in the St. Thomas correctional facility until his sentencing hearing, for which Hollar has not set a date.