FREDERIKSTED — In a rare move, the Virgin Islands Police Department has charged each combatant in a domestic violence dust-up that took place at Marley Homes and Additions in Estate Two Brothers late Saturday night.
Irisha Cepeda of St. Croix was arrested this weekend and charged with disturbance of the peace by fighting and destruction to other property-domestic violence, according to the VIPD.
Cepeda’s boyfriend of 10 years, Ikimba Parker, was arrested and charged with simple assault and battery-domestic violence, destruction to other property-domestic violence and disturbance of the peace by fighting, according to Superior Court documents.
Cepeda was taken to the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility pending an advice-of-rights hearing in Magistrate Ernest E. Morris, Jr.’s courtroom scheduled for today.
All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
FREDERIKSTED –– A Two Brothers man was arrested Saturday after he admitted to dragging a woman by the foot down some stairs and punching her in the back of the head, according to documents filed in the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.
Ikimba Parker, of Marley Homes and Additions, was charged with two crimes of domestic violence — simple assault and battery and destruction of other property –– and disturbance of the peace, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.
Parker was held without bail until his initial court appearance today, where Magistrate Judge Ernest E. Morris, Jr. will determine if there is probable cause for his arrest.
The 911 Emergency Call Center dispatched officers at 11:49 p.m. Saturday to Building 7, Apartment 59 of Marley Homes and Additions in reference to a concerned citizen who reported that her neighbor was being assaulted by her boyfriend, according to a probable cause fact sheet filed by Virgin Islands Police.
When police arrived at Marley Homes, they noticed two officers leading Ikimba Parker out of the project in handcuffs and met with an adult female who had visible injuries to her “lip and face,” the sworn police affidavit states. The victim, later identified as Irisha Cepeda, agreed to go to police headquarters and record a video statement.
In the video statement, Cepeda told police that she and Parker had been in a relationship for 10 years and that she has had three children with him, Superior Court documents indicate.
Cepeda told police she noticed that Parker was upset after returning from a friend’s house and asked him to sit on the bed with her and talk about it.
“I.C. stated that she got up off the bed and moved closer to Mr. Parker and asked him to communicate with her and Mr. Parker pushed her and stated that he is leaving,” the probable cause fact sheet states.
According to police, Parker started walking down the stairs and the woman followed after him.
“I.C. stated while following Mr. Parker downstairs, he punched her, so she retaliated and pushed him down the steps and began to fight,” the probable cause fact sheet states. “I.C. stated that (she) and Mr. Parker rolled down the steps and crashed into a glass table that was in her living room.”
Cepeda told police that Parker then went outside and broke the glass on her black Infinity vehicle and then said: “I know you can’t get that fixed now,” the sworn police affidavit states.
Cepeda, who was also charged with domestic violence, told police that she pushed Parker because he broke the glass on her vehicle, so she pushed him and he pushed her onto the floor and then punched her, according to the probable cause fact sheet.
At this point, Parker’s male cousin broke up the fight and Cepeda asked him if she could use his telephone to contact 911. The relative of Parker refused to let her use his mobile phone “because Mr. Parker is his cousin,” so Cepeda went to a neighbor’s house to use their phone and she called 911.
At the Wilbur H. Francis Command Station in Mars Hill, Mr. Parker was advised of his Miranda rights at police headquarters.
“Mr. Parker stated that (the victim) got upset with him because he would not speak to her, and she yelled at him and told him that he does not know how to communicate,” the probable cause fact sheet states.
Parker said he told the victim that he was leaving the house “and she got upset and blocked the door and told him that he is not going anywhere,” the sworn police affidavit states.
“Mr. Parker stated that he went upstairs to get some of his personal items and (the woman) kicked him and he grabbed her foot and pulled her down the stairs causing her to fall on her face,” according to the probable cause fact sheet
Parker told police that he went to the refrigerator and grabbed a beer and started drinking it, when he noticed that the woman had taken a knife from the kitchen and proceeded to go outside and puncture the tires on his truck, She also took a rock and broke the glass on his truck, according to police.
“Mr. Parker stated that (the woman) approached him with the knife after damaging his vehicle and he took the knife from her and struck her twice with his fists behind her head,” the probable cause fact sheet states.
Parker told police that he tried to go back into the home, and Cepeda refused to let him back in.
“Mr. Parker admitted to damaging I.C. vehicle and stated that he should have ‘box up her mother scunt more,'” according to the sworn police affidavit.
The police officer who filed the report with the Superior Court said that she observed the Cepeda “received injuries to her forehead, left cheek, lower left eye and lip.” While Parker himself “sustained a swollen lip and cuts on his finger.”
Each person declined medical attention after the incident. All individuals listed as arrested or charged with a crime in this report are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE— The Attorney General’s Office said it has received numerous calls and inquiries after yesterday’s United States Supreme Court ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
This case overturned th e cases of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. These two cases determined that a women had a fundamental right in their choice to have an abortion.
Recently, however, the Supreme Court shifted gears. In a 79-page opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the Court stated that “[an]abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
In essence, the Supreme Court found the legal reasoning in Roe and Casey to be deficient. It did not, however, ban the states and territories of this nation to allow abortion. Abortion in the Virgin Islands is legal and shall remain legal until such time that our Virgin Islands Legislature states otherwise.
The law is clear and concise and provided in full below: 14 V.I.C. §151 states: (a) “Abortion” means the termination of human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus. (b) An abortion may be performed in this Territory only with the written consent of the pregnant female and only if it is performed:
within, up to and including 12 weeks after the commencement of pregnancy, by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this Territory or by a physician practicing medicine in the employ of the government of the Virgin Islands;
after 12 weeks, up to and including 24 weeks after the commencement of the pregnancy, by a surgeon or gynecologist licensed to practice medicine in this Territory or by a surgeon or gynecologist practicing medicine in the employ of the government of the Virgin Islands, and the abortion is performed in a hospital licensed by the Department of Health; and
after 24 weeks of pregnancy only if the provisions of paragraph 2 of this subsection are complied with and the surgeon or gynecologist has reasonable cause to believe that there is substantial risk that the continuation of pregnancy will endanger the life or health of the pregnant female. 14 V.I.C. § 152 states: Submission by a female to an abortion is permissible (1) within, up to and including 24 weeks from the commencement of her pregnancy or (2) after 24 weeks from the commencement of her pregnancy when she believes that such abortion is being performed by a duly licensed or employed surgeon or gynecologist, acting under a reasonable belief that such abortion is necessary to preserve her life or health.
14 V.I.C. § 156 states: Any person who performs or procures an abortion other than as authorized by this chapter is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, may be fined not exceeding $1,000 or imprisoned not exceeding 5 years, or both. These laws shall remain in effect unless or until changed by our local Legislature.
FREDERIKSTED — Virgin Islands Police are investigating after a couple driving on the Melvin Evans Highway called 911 emergency dispatchers at 11:32 p.m. Saturday to report they had been shot and were driving themselves to the hospital.
The victims stated that they were traveling on Melvin H. Evans Highway near Paradise just before the laundromat in the east bound lane when occupants in a cream-colored Chevy Equinox SUV with the rear left glass shattered opened fire on them firing multiple shots into their vehicle, striking two occupants, according to the VIPD.
The couple sustained gunshot wounds: the male was shot in the back and the female was shot in her side, VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.
Neither victim sustained life-threatening injuries and are each in stable condition, according to Dratte.
The police have not identified any suspects as of yet, he said.
Officers immediately canvassed the highway after the drive-by shooting.
Detectives recovered several shell casings from the east bound side of the road, east of Paradise traffic signal and as far up as the laundromat, police said.
This incident is currently under active investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB).
Anyone with any information regarding this case please call the tip line CIB Tip Line 340-778-4950 or Crime Stoppers. 1-800-222-8477 or 911.
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ST. LOUIS — Enterprise Holdings, the world’s largest vehicle rental business, said new franchise locations are coming to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Morocco and the Bahamas. Each of the three new markets will feature car rental options from the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the company plans to open locations and provide service on the three main islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, beginning with the buildout of a location at the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas, the largest international airport in the territory.
Expansion plans in the Bahamas include an initial location at the Lynden Pindling International Airport and one additional branch in Nassau. Another location will be added at the Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport at a later date. In Morocco, plans include downtown locations in both Marrakech and Casablanca along with a presence at major airports.
“Over the past 10 years, we’ve executed an aggressive global growth plan designed to ensure our customers have greater access to the brands they know and love, no matter where they travel,” said Peter Smith, vice president of global franchising at Enterprise Holdings. “Franchisees appreciate the Enterprise standard of excellence and have transformed our business by helping us grow a significant international footprint. Around the corner, or around the world, Enterprise has you covered.”
With a presence in more than 90 countries and territories, Enterprise Holdings employs 75,000-plus global team members with a focus on becoming the best mobility provider in the world by listening to and exceeding customer expectations. The company partners with local providers that have a strong reputation for customer service excellence.
CHRISTIANSTED — Police are investigating after a full-size pickup truck crashed into a pedestrian west of Five Corners, leaving the man with life threatening injuries on Friday night.
Traffic Investigation Bureau (TIB) officers were notified by the 911 Emergency Call Center to investigate a vehicle collision involving a pedestrian that occurred in the eastbound lane of Northside Road Route 75 near Quality Grocery & Deli in Estate La Grande Princesse at 8:15 p.m. Friday, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.
Upon TIB officers’ arrival at the scene, they observed a male individual. laying on the northern edge of the eastbound lane and sidewalk, according to the VIPD. The vehicle involved, a Toyota Tundra, was parked in front of Quality Grocery store northeast of the pedestrian.
The preliminary investigation reveals that the Pedestrian, was in the vicinity of Plot 21-C La Grande Princesse and was crossing the roadway from north to south, police said. The driver was heading eastbound when the vehicle struck the pedestrian.
“The pedestrian sustained life-threatening injuries to the face and head,” VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.
The victim was transported to the Juan F. Luis Hospital where he is receiving medical treatment for injuries to the face and head, according to Dratte.
This case remains open and under active investigation by the TIB.
MIAMI — Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1, but doesn’t usually ramp up until July or August. But an unusually early tropical storm has a strong chance to develop next week in the “main development region” of the tropical Atlantic. The potential storm is already of interest to the Windward Islands, which mark the divide between the Atlantic and the Caribbean.
The system isn’t a tropical depression yet, but it’s in an environment that favors organization. Weather models are bullish on its prospects of development, and overall steering currents would take it west toward the Caribbean.
It’s not yet known to what extent it will intensify, but it’s worth keeping close tabs on it as it evolves over the coming days. If it organizes and attains sustained winds of at least 39 mph, it will be named Tropical Storm Bonnie.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami estimates a 60 percent chance of eventual development, writing: “A tropical depression could form during the early to middle part of next week … and approaches the windward islands.” Thereafter, the system should wind up somewhere in the Caribbean. Eventually, it could affect Central America.
As it stands, experts have unanimously predicted an active or hyperactive hurricane season, the anticipated effects of a lingering La Niña coupling with anomalously warm sea surface temperatures.
The system is currently a mere cluster of showers and thunderstorms about 600 miles south-southwest of the Azores. Downpour activity is more prevalent on the northern half of the system.
That’s also where signs are beginning to manifest of loosely organized outflow, or air exiting the storm at high altitudes. Tropical cyclones are, in essence, heat engines — they ingest warm, humid air in contact with the bath-like sea surface at the low levels, and exhale “spent” air aloft. The more efficiently a system can evacuate already-processed air from above, the easier it is to draw in more moisture-laden air from below and intensify.
In the coming days, the nascent system will meander west through a relative minimum in wind shear, or a change of wind speed and/or direction with height. Wind shear can be pernicious and disruptive to a tropical system, knocking it off-kilter and inhibiting its organization. The lack of wind shear is a window of opportunity. It remains to be seen to what extent the clumping of downpours can take advantage of improving environmental conditions in the days ahead.
From its current perch in the eastern tropical Atlantic, the system should continue almost due west, with little to interrupt its motion. Weather models suggest it will remain a diffuse area of spin before consolidating sometime in the Monday to Wednesday time-frame, potentially on final approach to the Windward Islands.
CHRISTIANSTED—Nesto Monell, 42, is charged with first-degree murder in the chopping death of his 70-year-old uncle Abraham Ortiz.
Ortiz sustained injuries near his home in Constitution Hill on September 14, 2020 that would eventually prove fatal.
Monell was returned to the territory from Boston this week. The homicide suspect was fighting extradition from Massachusetts and it took a Governor’s warrant to secure his transport to St. Croix.
Now that Monell must face trial in Superior Court at Kingshill, the Virgin Islands FreePress took a deep dive into the 21-month police investigation that led to his eventual arrest.
According to the probable cause fact sheet, members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau were told to go to an address in Constitution Hill on September 14, 2020 “to investigate an incident involving a male individual who was found outside of his home unconscious. The male was later identified as Abraham Ortiz.”
A detective from the Major Crime Unit said that police sergeant L.O. was the first to arrive at the address in Constitution Hill, Superior Court records indicate.
“He stated that when he arrived in Constitution Hill, he made contact with a black male individual who was later identified as Nesto Monell,” the probable cause fact sheet states. “He stated that when he arrived in Constitution Hill, he made contact with a black male individual who was later identified as Nesto Monell. He stated that Nesto Monell was wearing a green shirt, short black basketball pants and had a machete in his hand. Nesto Monell then advised Sgt. L.O. that he needs help with his uncle Abraham Ortiz. Nesto Monell also stated that Abraham Ortiz was acting crazy and continually causing a disturbance with him (Nesto Monell) and his father, Ernesto Monell, every day.”
“Nesto Monell stated to Sgt. L.O. that on September 14, 2020, earlier in the day, stopped by his residence (in Constitution Hil) and pulled out a machete, so he took the machete from Abraham Ortiz, which resulted in him (Nesto Monell), sustaining a small laceration to his left thumb,” according to the sworn police affidavit. “Nesto Monell had blood stains on his clothing, and when asked where the blood came from, he said it came from the laceration he sustained.”
“Sgt. L.O. asked Nesto Monell about the whereabouts of Abraham Ortiz, and he stated that Abraham Ortiz should be at his (Abraham Ortiz’) residence (in Constitution Hill),” the probable cause fact sheet states. “Nesto Monell further stated to Sgt. L.O. that it appeared to him as if someone assaulted Abraham Ortiz prior to the disturbance with him and Abraham Ortiz. Nesto Monell concluded by saying that police should travel to Abraham Ortiz’ residence to see if he is okay.”
“The officers on the scene immediately traveled to Abraham Ortiz’ residence,” the sworn police affidavit states. “The officers made a check of the inside of the residence for Mr. Ortiz with negative findings. They then made a check of the outside of Mr. Ortiz’ residence, where they observed Mr. Ortiz lying on the ground unconscious.”
At this point, Abraham Ortiz was taken Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center for treatment.
“Upon arrival at Abraham Ortiz’ residence, a check was made of the residence for any possible evidence. I observed blood on the floor and walls throughout the residence,” the probable cause fact sheet states. “I also observed broken glass ornaments lying on the living room floor. A pair of slippers and glasses were found lying on the grass in front of the residence. The front passenger door to Abraham Ortiz’ vehicle was opened.”
“I then traveled to #17-I Constitution Hill where Nesto Monell resides,” the sworn police affidavit states. “While at the residence, I observed what appeared to be blood stains of both Nesto Monell’s shirt and pants. I also observed a laceration to his left thumb. I asked Nesto Monell to relinquish his clothing for evidentiary purpose; however, he declined. He was then asked to travel to the Ancilmo Marshall Command Police Station, which he did, and he relinquished his clothing to Sgt. L.O., without incident. The clothing was then turned over to Technician M.W.”
A doctor at the Juan F. Luis Hospital told police investigators that Abraham Ortiz sustained “head trauma,” but that they did not know how severe his head injuries were, according to Superior Court documents. The same doctor said results of a CAT scan were not yet available.
“Contact was then made with Abraham Ortiz, who was conscious, and he was asked how he got injured and he stated: ‘No one did this to me,'” the probable cause fact sheet states.
“I observed discoloration to his face and what appeared to be dried blood in the palms of both his hands and in between his fingers,” the sworn police affidavit states.
A police forensic technician took pictures of Abraham Ortiz’ injuries. Police investigators learned on September 15, at the Juan F. Luis Hospital that the medical staff had air evacuated Abraham Ortiz to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for further treatment.
“He (the doctor) stated that the reason he was airlifted was because he had a major brain bleed,” the probable cause fact sheet states. “(The doctor) also stated that when Abraham Ortiz began to feel a little better, he told him (the doctor) that his brother’s on (unknown name) was the one who assaulted him.”
On December 29, 2020, a witness told police that Ernesto Monell and Abraham Ortiz had argued on September 14, 2020 but that the witness did not know what they argued about, police said. The witness also said that the two men argued a lot.
Another witness told police that on September 14, 2020 Nesto Monell and Abraham Ortiz had also argued, the VIPD said.
“(The witness) stated that while they were at Ortiz’ residence, (the witness) observed Nesto Monell and Abraham Ortiz arguing and grabbing each other by the collar,” the sworn police affidavit states. A few days after the incident, the same witness told police Nesto Monell admitted that he “slapped up” Abraham Ortiz.
On January 18, 2021, the Virgin Islands Police Department was informed by Abraham Ortiz’ wife that her husband had died as a result of his injuries the day before in Florida.
On February 18, 2021, the VIPD received the autopsy report for Abraham Ortiz from the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Department .
The autopsy performed on January 20, 2021 concluded that the cause of Mr. Abraham Ortiz’ death was: “complications of blunt force injuries of (the) head, which was ruled as a homicide.”
“During my investigation, it was disclosed to me that Nesto Monell requested a lawyer; however, he stated to police detective A.J. that: “There was an altercation between my uncle and I, but the family decided to deal with it in house,” Superior Court documents indicate.
CHRISTIANSTED — Two males wearing fast food worker uniforms — and no masks — held up a man as he was eating in his car, beat him and then stole his vehicle at gunpoint, authorities said.
The 911 Call Center dispatched officers to a robbery that occurred in the vicinity of Kiki’s Automotive, Estate Diamond Ruby at 7:10 p.m. on November 4, 2021, the Virgin Islands Police Department said.
Officers responded and contacted the victim stating that at approximately 7:00 p.m., he was parked in his vehicle eating, when he was approached by two unknown males who were each wearing Wendy’s uniforms without masks on their faces and carrying a firearm, according to the VIPD. He stated that he was beaten by both men and that his vehicle was stolen at gunpoint.
“An investigation was conducted, and the identity of the adult suspect was identified as Luis Navarro Jr., 20-years-old, VIPD Communications Director Glen Dratte said.
A warrant for Navarro was sought and signed with a $75,000.00 bond by Superior Court Magistrate Brow Ross on May 25, 2022. In it he was charged with first-degree robbery, unauthorized possession of a firearm, third-degree assault, unauthorized use of a vehicle, according to Dratte.
Members of the VIPD’s Special Operations Bureau apprehended Luis Navarro Jr. without incident today, police said.
Luis Navarro Jr. was processed and transported to the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility in Estate Golden Grove pending further court action.
The advice-of-rights hearing for Navarro is scheduled for Monday, June 27, 2022.
The other suspect is a minor, and the investigation is being “processed,” according to police.