TORTOLA — The Royal Virgin Islands Police have arrested five people, including two women, on suspicion of participating in the April 18 robbery that resulted in the death of a 67-year-old woman.
Catherine Pickering was killed just outside the Parquita Bay home she shared with her daughter and businesswoman Maricel Pickering. Police have said the younger woman was exiting her vehicle with the day’s revenues — $2,950 as she had already given her brother $150 — when the robbers approached. Her mother was shot when she came outside after hearing the daughter call for help.
Akeem Hopkinson, 22, and Shameek Grant, 28, both of Zion Hill, were arrested and charged with murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and robbery. Arrested and charged with aiding and abetting the men are Teffiny Smith, 18, and Tyann Smith, 20. It wasn’t clear Tuesday night whether Teffiny Smith of Zion Hill and Tyann Smith of Freshwater Pond are related.
Police have also charged Shermar Richardson, 24, of Gene Hill, with robbery.
According to reports, Richardson, who worked at Pickering’s Big Brothers Gas Station in Baughers Bay for eight years and was the first to be arrested, allegedly provided details about the gas station, including who was transporting the money and where.
Police have not found a weapon, but recovered shell casings from an AK-47 assault rifle.
Catherine Pickering sustained gunshot wounds to her head and chest. She died the following day at Orlando Smith Hospital.
Further reports indicate that following the robbery, Grant paid $1,950 in overdue rent for the apartment he shared with Hopkinson and also paid $360 owed on a rental vehicle reportedly used in the robbery.
Richardson, Grant and Hopkinson were remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison after initial court hearings. Teffiny Smith, who was arrested over the weekend, is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
Cathering Pickering is the fifth person to have been killed this year in the British Virgin Islands, and the only case in which arrests have been made.
The victims are:
• Rodney “Mileage” Simmonds, 57, co-owner of The Boys Service Station, was gunned down at his Threadfall home on Feb. 6. He also raced horses under the name The Boys Stables.
• Andrew Skerrett, 24, of Carrot Bay, was found dead at his home on Feb. 6. Reports have alleged his death was a suicide connected to Simmonds’ killing.
• Earl “Bob” Hodge, a prominent businessman, horse owner and racing enthusiast, was shot outside his Hannah’s Estate home on Feb. 9. His killing came just six days after the slaying of another horseman in the island’s first homicide of the year. He allegedly was robbed before he was killed.
• Deverson Williams, 38, of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was killed in a hail of bullets in Fish Bay on March 16.