A suspect has been charged with standing by as another man raped and threatened a woman at gunpoint on St. Croix, according to documents filed in V.I. Superior Court.
V.I. Police Department investigators said in arrest affidavits that Jahmanie G. Morton was identified as the man who accompanied Stedroy Francis Jr. while he brutally assaulted the victim in her home.
Police arrested Francis after the victim went to police Thursday afternoon and reported that he had raped and assaulted her an hour earlier. Francis was charged with 11 crimes, including first-degree attempted murder, with bail set at $250,000.
The woman said she was asleep in her home when Francis walked in “with two handguns in his hands,” and sexually assaulted her while he “gun-butted her in the back of her head,” according to police.
The victim said she tried to get away, but Francis choked her until she lost consciousness. The victim said she woke up and noticed Francis had left, so she called a friend on her phone.0 But Francis returned to the home and slapped her when he found her on the phone, and threatened to kill her while wielding a large knife he took from her kitchen and a black Glock handgun, according to the affidavit.
The victim told police that there was another man accompanying Francis throughout the entire encounter, including the sexual assault.
Police interviewed the witness who was on the phone with the victim when Francis returned and threatened to kill her if she called police.
The witness heard Morton talking to the victim. The witness recognized Morton’s voice from previous conversations, and heard Morton threaten to kill the witness and victim, according to the affidavit.
On Friday, Morton turned himself in to police. He was arrested and initially charged with six crimes, including unauthorized possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, and failure to report a firearm obtained outside the Virgin Islands.
But Judge Jomo Meade dismissed those two charges during Morton’s advice-of-rights hearing Monday, and said there’s no evidence the relevant firearm statutes apply to his actions in this case.
Meade did find probable cause for four other charges — unlawful entry, disturbance of the peace, aiding and abetting first-degree burglary, and aiding and abetting third-degree assault.
Meade said Morton may be released to the third-party custody of his grandparents, who will post their home worth $150,000 as surety for his bond. Morton must remain under 24-hour house arrest but will not be under electronic monitoring while he awaits trial.
Molyneaux-Molloy also said the investigation “revealed the mother is actually trying to get a hold of the victim.”
Meade warned Morton’s mother not to try and interfere with the case.
“That is a very serious offense. If you do that you could be charged criminally with tampering with a witness. So, I would suggest that if in fact you have done that, you should not do that,” Meade said.