A man convicted of second-degree murder has been arrested again and charged with trying to extort another man while on parole, according to testimony in V.I. Superior Court.
Bradley Maxwell, 43, was arrested Thursday and charged with attempted extortion, harassment by telephone and disturbance of the peace by making threats, according to a probable cause fact sheet filed by V.I. Police.
On Oct. 1, the owner of a towing service on St. Thomas filed a police complaint in which he said Maxwell “was attempting to extort money from him and made credible threats” to his life, according to the fact sheet. The man said he met Maxwell on Sept. 10 through a friend, and Maxwell said he was unemployed but had driven trucks in the states, and asked if he could go on a ride-along and learn the towing business.
The victim reluctantly agreed, and also gave Maxwell $100 for a small menial job after he noted that Maxwell “didn’t even have money for lunch,” according to the fact sheet.
During the ride-along, the victim told police that Maxwell “was acting strangely,” and at one point he drew a handgun with an extended magazine that “appeared to have a conversion kit to make it a fully automatic weapon” that he’d had hidden in a bag, according to the fact sheet. “Maxwell then began talking through the closed window at the people on the street, saying: ‘These dudes don’t know how easy they could be dead.’”
The victim quickly made up an excuse to part ways with Maxwell, who returned to the victim’s home on Sept. 30 and demanded money to pay for vehicle damage caused in a collision, according to the fact sheet. The victim “asked what that has to do with him, and Maxwell stated that ‘the other driver was a ‘Frenchy’ like him, so now he has to pay for the damage.”
The victim noticed Maxwell had the handgun in his waistband, and retreated inside the home, according to the fact sheet. The victim said Maxwell continued calling him and “demanded half of everything he made,” and threatened his grandmother if he didn’t get $10,000.
Maxwell told the victim that if he didn’t pay, “he will have to ‘deal’ with him,” and the victim “recorded several of the calls and played them” for police, according to the fact sheet. In one of the calls, the victim “asks directly if Maxwell was ‘extorting him,’ and Maxwell said that he is.” Maxwell also told the victim he’d been convicted of murder.
Maxwell, whose nickname is “Hurtie,” was convicted of the 1997 murder of Alfred Adams, and for escape from the jail on St. Croix. He was sent to prison off-island, went before the parole board on June 3, 2019, and was released.
The victim said that after learning Maxwell really was on parole for murder, he worried so much about his family’s safety that he shut down his business on Oct. 1 and “has also not felt safe returning home, because he believes Maxwell will try to kill him for not paying the $10,000,” according to police, who believe Maxwell “is armed and dangerous.”
At Maxwell’s advice of rights hearing Friday, Assistant Attorney General Brenda Scales asked Magistrate Judge Carolyn Hermon-Percell to double his bond to $20,000 because of the serious nature of the charges and his prior criminal history.
But public defender Paula Norkaitis asked the judge to keep his bond at $10,000 and allow him to post 10% cash so he could be released from jail pending trial, noting that his murder conviction is more than two decades old.
Norkaitis said Maxwell had been living with his wife on St. Croix after his release from prison, and traveled to St. Thomas for medical treatment after he was shot on St. Croix.
While the judge agreed with Scales that Maxwell is both a danger to the community and a possible flight risk, especially given his conviction for escape, Hermon-Percell kept his bond at $10,000, but said Maxwell must post the full amount in cash, or double that value in property and he must remain under house arrest with electronic monitoring.
Maxwell’s wife agreed to move from St. Croix to St. Thomas to serve as his third-party custodian and ensure he complies with the conditions of pretrial release while he continues receiving treatment for the gunshot wound.