The two suspects arrested for the arson of an Estate Grunwald home in an attempt to cover up the murder of David Geiger and attempted murder of his teenage son have been released to the custody of their parents, one without bail.
Geiger, a local sailor and builder who lived in Estate Grunwald, was bludgeoned to death during the early morning hours of Oct. 29. His son, Nathan, was severely beaten in the attack, but survived after being pulled from the burning home by neighbors.
Robert Ferguson, 18, was arrested along with Nestor Colaire, 18, on Dec. 12, when the two returned to the territory from Florida. They were charged with attempted murder, arson and being an accessory to murder after the fact.
The pair claimed they had traveled to Miami to enter the U.S. Department of Labors Job Corps. Job Corps officials in Miami told St. John Tradewinds the two never enrolled in the program.
Their defense attorneys claimed the two men had made plans to travel to Florida for the Job Corps program before the murder and arson and had returned voluntarily to answer warrants which had been issued in early November.
Ferguson and Colaire Released
Ferguson, who was charged with attempted murder, arson and being an accessory after the fact, was originally held on $75,000 bail. He was released from jail in January on a $45,000 unsecured bond, according to V.I. Assistant Attorney General Ernest Bason, chief of the V.I. Justice Departments criminal division for St. Thomas and St. John.
Ferguson was released to his father, who is acting as his third party custodian, according to Bason, who did not provide the name of Fergusons father. The attempted murder suspect does not have a curfew, but must check in with the V.I. Police Department (VIPD) once a week, Bason explained.
Colaire, who is also charged with attempted murder, arson and being an accessory to murder after the fact, was released from prison on Feb. 6 on an unsecured bond. He had been held on $75,000 bail.
Colaire was released into the custody of his aunt and mother. Bason did not provide the names of the suspects mother or aunt. Colaire must be in his mothers home from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. nightly, and must report to the VIPD daily, according to Bason.
Both men are forbidden from leaving the territory or violating any V.I. laws.
Charged on Girlfriends Affidavit
Geiger was off island and had Amber Taylorwhose 21-year-old boyfriend, Renell Lettsome, is accused of the murderhouse sit for him the week before the murder.
While Taylor was house sitting, a large amount of money was stolen from Geigers home by St. John resident Tullius Stewart, according to police, who are mostly relying on an affidavit by Taylor. Stewart was allegedly a friend of Taylor and a mechanic.
When Geiger returned from the mainland, he discovered his money was missing and confronted Taylor in front of Lettsome, according to Taylors affidavit.
Stewart, 29, was arrested on Nov. 24, when he returned to the territory from California, and was charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property. He was released on his own recognizance before Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall on Nov. 25.
Taylor, Lettsome, their young son, and Taylors other son, checked into a St. Thomas hotel on the night of Oct. 28. Lettsome traveled back to St. John alone that afternoon and did not return to St. Thomas until the morning of Oct. 29, according to Taylors affadivit.
When Lettsome returned to the hotelwearing different clothes and with a gash in his handhe told Taylor he had murdered Geiger, beat Geigers son and set the residence on fire leaving the unconscious Nathan inside, the affidavit continued.
Renell Lettsome thought that Nathan was dead, Taylor said in her affidavit.
Colaire, Ferguson Helped Lettsome
After beating Geiger to death and leaving Nathan allegedly for dead, Lettsome went to his friend Colaires Estate Pastory home. Colaire, Lettsome and Lettsomes half-brother, Ferguson, returned to Geigers home, set the residence on fire and removed evidence from the scene, according to Taylors affidavit.
Neighbors awoke to the fire and pulled Nathan to safety. The teenager sustained serious head injuries, but is reported healing slowly and with family members on the mainland.
Taylor returned to St. John on Oct. 31, and was questioned by officials in early November, outside of her mothers Coral Bay clothing store, JuJu Mon. She was seen getting into a sedan with her mother and two children around Nov. 4, and has not been seen since.
Lettsomewho is charged with 12 criminal counts, including murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree and arson in the first degreeis the sole suspect still in prison. Lettsome allegedly fled the territory after the attack and arson, but was reportedly seen in Coral Bay around Thanksgiving.
The murder suspect turned himself in to police on Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, and was extradited to the U.S.V.I. on Nov. 30. He remains in prison with a $1 million bail.
Lettsome Called Main Person
Colaire and Ferguson are thought to only have assisted Lettsome in this case, Bason explained.
Renell is the main person, he said.
The case is only in its initial phases and will take a long time to prosecute, Bason added.
Its a long process, and we are just at the beginning, he said.
The next step will be the prosecutors motion to join the defendants cases, Bason said.
Right now there are three different courts and three different judges, he said. We will file a motion to join, so the defendants will all appear before the same judge except for Stewart. Stewarts case will be tried in front of a separate judge.
Bason did not know when the trials would be scheduled.