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Man Who Killed Another Man With A Rock Over A Cigarette Lighter Gets 15 Years In Prison

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A 52-year-old father of four learned of his fate today for fatally wounding another man with a rock, over a cigarette lighter.

Having pleading guilty to smashing in Ellmeade Daniel’s head with a rock and killing him, Mario E. Brown appeared before V.I. Superior Court Judge Michael Dunston Wednesday morning for his sentencing.

Brown, who was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree murder, third-degree assault, using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence and voluntary manslaughter in connection with the September 2015 incident, accepted a plea deal offered by the Attorney General and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and possession of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence.

In his allocution to the court reciting the terms of the plea bargain, Assistant Attorney General Eugene James Connor, Jr. recommended that Brown be sentenced to 15 years’ incarceration.

“This case involved the death of the victim,” Connor said.

Public defender, Kwami Motilewa, asked the court to have leniency and mercy on his client as he has suffered and continues to suffer from several defects, including emotional stability and schizophrenic trends. Motilewa then suggested to the court that in light of those and other factors, Brown’s sentences for the two convictions should run concurrently, “such as in the aggregate, he will spend 10 years and be given credit for time served.”

One of Brown’s son, Jameel Brown, apologized in open court in behalf of his father to the victim’s family and asked the court to send his father to a rehabilitation center “so he can become a better person in society.”

Having heard the pleas for leniency and pleas of mitigation, Dunston handed down his punishment and sentenced Brown to 71/2 years imprisonment for the weapons conviction and 10 years behind bars for voluntary manslaughter with credit for the 337 days he has already served at the Bureau of Corrections. Both sentences are to run concurrently. Dunston dismissed the remaining four counts with prejudice and also ordered Brown to pay restitution in the amount of $4,445.97.

“I am going to recommend to BOC that you be enrolled in mental health counseling or treatment program,” Dunston added.

Brown was arrested on Sept. 22, 2015 after an eyewitness identified him as the person who struck Daniel, 59, on the head with a rock. When officers responded to the incident at Sanchez Town, Estate Nadir, they found Daniel lying on the ground and bleeding from his head. He was unresponsive, Det. Nigel James stated in his probable cause fact sheet.

According to the eyewitness’ account, Daniel and another man were sitting under a shed at a bar when Brown approached Daniel and asked him for a lighter. Daniel told Brown that he did not have a lighter. Brown ran to the back of the bar and returned with a rock, which he used to strike Daniel on the head, James wrote.

The witness shook Daniel, but he did not respond. The witness then went to a friend’s house 20 minutes away and the friend called 911. Emergency Medical Technicians who arrived on the scene pronounced Daniel dead. The eyewitness viewed a police photo array and positively identified Brown as the individual who struck Daniel with a rock, according to James’ probable cause fact sheet.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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