Malik Iles, 22, has been found guilty of murder in the Jan, 11, 2020 shooting death of 34-year-old Ray Thomas on St. Croix, V.I. Attorney General Denise George announced Thursday.
The trial before Judge Douglas Brady began on Monday in V.I. Superior Court on St. Croix. On Wednesday, Iles was found guilty of five of seven counts, including second-degree murder, first-degree assault, unauthorized possession of a firearm, discharging or aiming firearms, and possession of ammunition, George said in a press release announcing the conviction.
The DOJ prosecution team proved that on Jan. 11, 2020, in the vicinity of Estate Sion Farm, St. Croix, Iles unlawfully and with malice aforethought, did, with willful and deliberate design, kill Thomas with a firearm, the release stated.
Thomas’ death marked the territory’s first homicide of 2020 — a year that would go on to see 44 shooting deaths and one by stabbing, according to the Source Homicide List.*
According to court documents, on that Saturday in 2020, the 911 Emergency Call Center received a report at about 2:38 a.m. of shots fired at a residence in Estate Sion Farm. Police discovered blood running down from the front porch of the house and .45 caliber spent casings with nearby damaged projectiles. A Black man, later identified as Thomas, was found lying on the porch with gunshot wounds about the body. He was transported to the Juan F. Luis Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Based upon information from a confidential source, Iles became a person of interest, the release stated. Police traveled to a Barren Spot residence where they contacted Iles and transported him to the Police Administration Building for questioning. A warrant was signed by Judge Harold Willocks to allow a search of the residence.
During the search of the home, an empty box for .45 caliber rounds was recovered. It was determined that the box was for the same brand and caliber of cartridges recovered from the scene of the crime, the release stated. A blood-stained T-shirt was also found in a nearby garbage bin located in Sion Farm in the vicinity of the crime scene. DNA swabs collected from the T-shirt indicated that the blood was that of Thomas, according to the release.
Other evidence indicated the T-shirt was worn by Iles, it said. After collecting further evidence, and statements from witnesses and family members, police traveled back to the Barren Spot residence and placed Iles under arrest at 6:23 p.m.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 9 at 9 a.m.; conditions of Iles’ pretrial release were vacated, and he was remanded to the Bureau of Corrections, according to court documents.
*The Source Homicide List is a chronological log of the homicides recorded each year in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as reported by the VIPD. Cases are broken down by island. While the listing is based on VIPD reports, the Source does not include suicides or vehicular homicides in its listing which the police and some other media do. This can lead to a variance in the number of incidents reported.