Machuchal Man Admits To Carjacking, Beating Couple At Gunpoint To Steal $200 Cash From Them
CHRISTIANSTED — A home invader owned up to a carjacking and weapons violation in federal court saying that he beat and robbed a couple at gunpoint on St. Croix’s south shore three years ago, authorities said.
Chriss Cepeda, 24, of Estate Profit, pled guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court to one count of using a firearm during a violent crime and one count of carjacking, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.
The firearm offense carries a mandatory minimum of seven years imprisonment, a maximum fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release up to five years.
The carjacking offense carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years, a maximum fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release up to 5 years. Sentencing is set for March 24, 2021.
According to court documents, in the early morning hours of September 10, 2017, Cepeda along with two co-defendants, broke into the home of Stephen O’Dea and Kathryn Duncan, while brandishing a firearm.
Cepeda and two other men physically assaulted O’Dea and threatened to kill the couple while demanding money. Cepeda and the two men forced the couple at gunpoint into the rear seat of O’Dea’s Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck and drove to the location where O’Dea had left his wallet.
After obtaining the wallet, Cepeda and two others fled in the pick-up truck and O’Dea’s Jeep Wrangler. In addition to the vehicles, Cepeda and the two men stole $200 in currency, two iPhones valued at $600 each, and an iPad valued at $200.
The Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case.
It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Huston.