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 Free Press 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.