Habitual offender receives 'get-out-of-jail-free' card from sympathetic judge

Habitual offender receives ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card from sympathetic judge

CHARLOTTE AMALIEArnold Malone of St. Thomas was re-arrested after prosecutors filed additional charges, including first-degree assault with intent to commit murder, according to Superior Court records.

Malone, 48, turned himself in Sunday and appeared in court Monday, but Magistrate Judge Simone Van Holten-Turnbull dismissed the case without prejudice because prosecutors filed an incomplete list of charges.

After the hearing, “the officer submitted a corrected Probable Cause statement,” which the Attorney General’s Office reviewed and filed with the court, Virgin Islands Justice Department spokeswoman Sandra Goomansingh said.

Police rearrested Malone, and he appeared in court again Tuesday. He was initially charged with first- and third-degree assault, and three counts each of reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident.

Malone is now facing additional charges, including first-degree assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving, negligent driving, operating a motor vehicle with excessive window tint, and interfering with an officer.

Bail was set at $75,000, and Van Holten-Turnbull allowed Malone to be released to third-party custodians after posting 10% of that amount in cash, according to the record of proceeding from Tuesday’s hearing.

Malone was pulled over by patrol officers on Veterans Drive near Blyden Marine Terminal at around 2:10 p.m. Friday for having a tinted windshield, and police initially reported that Malone got out of his vehicle, “fired shots and sped off.”

But according to the probable cause fact sheet filed in court, Malone sped away from the traffic stop, striking three other vehicles, and reversed into a patrol car, prompting Police Officer Cindy Claudio to fire shots at him.

Malone had previously been identified as a suspect in a Jan. 28 shooting on Goat Street, and police were warned that he had made statements that he was “not going back to jail,” and threatened to shoot officers, according to the fact sheet.

“Because Mr. Malone had made threats to police officers the day before, drove from the scene of the traffic stop, reversing his vehicle into the passenger side of the police unit, striking the door of the police unit with his vehicle, nearly striking officer Francis with his vehicle, Mr. Malone’s action prior of placing items into his pocket, not knowing whether Mr. Malone possessed any firearms in the vehicle coupled with the possibility of carrying out the earlier threats to police officers, officer Claudio discharged shots,” according to the fact sheet.

Malone fled the scene and later turned himself in to police at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, according to police.

“During Mr. Malone’s booking process, he made threatening and disparaging remarks to the police officers who were present,” according to the fact sheet.

Malone told officers they “better stand ready. Ain’t nothing you can do that is going to keep me in here and to brace yourselves,” according to the fact sheet.

Malone also made homophobic remarks and told an officer, “You upset because you did not find a gun,” according to the fact sheet.

Malone previously pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm after a shooting on St. Thomas in August 2019, and was sentenced to 33 months behind bars. Malone was released from federal prison on December 23, 2021. He was still under supervision when he was arrested again in March and charged with several crimes, including assault and being a felon in possession of an unlicensed firearm, according to V.I. Superior Court records.

Prosecutors dropped those charges in October after informing the court that they were “unable to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt at this time.”

By SUZANNE CARLSON/V.I. Daily News