A St. John man is back in jail after his latest arrest, and was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.
Melroy Matthias, 56, who was born on St. Thomas is currently homeless and frequents the area of the Cruz Bay ferry dock on St. John.
On Tuesday, his family members called police to John’s Folly where they said Matthias assaulted a woman with a broomstick without provocation, and threatened to kill her with a machete in his hand, according to an affidavit filed by V.I. Police.
The assault victim was not seriously injured and declined medical attention, and Matthias fled into an area of nearby rocks when police arrived at the scene.
Matthias “decided to jump into the John’s Folly Bay,” and another family member used a kayak to assist police in bringing him to shore so he could be placed under arrest, according to the affidavit.
He was charged with third-degree assault and disturbance of the peace by threats, and was held without bond pursuant to the territory’s domestic violence statute.
In court Wednesday, Assistant V.I. Attorney General John Barraco said Matthias has previous convictions for violence that occurred decades ago, and two pending cases. Prosecutors will be moving to revoke bail in those cases, given his most recent arrest, Barraco said.
Matthias was convicted in V.I. Superior Court on Feb. 12, 2008, of first-degree unlawful sexual contact, and has frequently struggled to comply with court orders.
He had previously been charged in August 2018 with failing to register as a sex offender. He was arrested again for the crime in May, and again in June.
At a court hearing in May, Territorial Public Defender Julie Todman said Matthias has been unable to comply with court orders because he’s homeless, indigent, and struggling with untreated mental illness.
“Our government needs to do a better job of dealing with people who have mental illness,” said Todman. “We know he has a mental illness, has had a mental illness in the past.”
Todman said those medical issues need to be addressed before the court can expect Matthias to be compliant.
“Do we continue arresting him and say, ‘You’re subject to a potential three years’ incarceration?’ So, we have to do better by our mentally ill citizens, your honor,” Todman said at the time.
Matthias was released on an unsecured bond, meaning he did not have to post any cash to be freed from jail.
In his latest criminal case, “there is no apparent motive set out in the facts, the officer could not discern a motive. And the People would consider Mr. Matthias a danger to his family and a danger to the community,” Barraco said.
V.I. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Carolyn Hermon-Percell agreed that “there was no provocation for his action, and even if there were,” his behavior was not reasonable or justified.
The judge set bail at $15,000 cash, all but assuring that Matthias will remain incarcerated while he awaits trial. She also ordered him to be given a mental health evaluation and any necessarily treatment.