A teen boy charged with attempted murder on St. Croix is facing decades in prison if convicted.
Hezekiah Thompson, 18, of Estate Profit, was arrested by warrant Tuesday and charged with first-degree attempted murder, which carries a maximum possible sentence of 25 years behind bars.
Thompson was charged in connection with a shooting that occurred in the Clifton Hill area on Feb. 16, 2020, according to V.I. Police spokesman Toby Derima, who said in a news release that Thompson was “located and detained in Puerto Rico.”
V.I. Police detectives traveled to Puerto Rico to take Thompson into custody and returned him to the territory to face charges.
Unable to post $250,000 bail, Thompson was jailed and appeared in V.I. Superior Court on Wednesday, where Magistrate Judge Ernest Morris Jr. advised him of his rights. Morris also advised him of the possible sentences he’s facing for related charges, including a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 40 years in prison for unauthorized possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, which also carries a mandatory $50,000 fine.
Thompson was 17 years old at the time of the shooting, which occurred at around 1 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2020.
The victim in the case told investigators he was leaving a friend’s house when he saw two males approaching on a blue and gray all-terrain vehicle.
The victim said he didn’t know the driver but recognized the passenger, and police said the victim showed them a Facebook photo of Thompson, who officers recognized “from many law enforcement encounters.”
The victim said Thompson told him, “I don’t like how you does be looking at me,” according to an affidavit filed by police.
“You think I’m joking with you?” Thompson is reported as saying as he pointed a black 9 mm handgun at the victim, who took off running into nearby bushes as he heard three to four gunshots, according to the affidavit.
The victim was “emotionally traumatized” but not physically injured in the shooting, police said. The victim said he’d “never had any encounter” with Thompson in the past but had seen him on several occasions, and “Thompson has always stared at him with a mean facial expression.”
A witness told police they’d heard four shots fired at around 1 p.m. and saw a blue ATV speed off from the area. The next day, detectives returned to the scene of the shooting in Clifton Hill, where another witness who asked to remain anonymous provided additional information.
That person told police that two men on a blue ATV had “returned to the scene and picked up the spent casings from off the roadway,” according to the affidavit.
Police said no spent shell casings were recovered from the scene of the shooting.
At his advice-of-rights hearing Wednesday, Assistant V.I. Attorney General Karabo Molyneaux-Molloy asked that Thompson’s bail be increased to $500,000.
“This crime allegedly happened around 1 o’clock p.m. in a residential area, about 884 feet from Central High School,” Molyneaux-Molloy said.
But Territorial Public Defender Amelia Joseph asked that he be released to his mother’s custody on an unsecured bond, and remain under 24-hour house arrest at his grandmother’s Estate Profit home with electronic monitoring while he awaits jail.
“He’s just a teenager,” Joseph said.
Judge Morris agreed to release Thompson, but said his grandmother must post her house as surety, and sign an unsecured bond for the remainder of the $250,000.
“Given that the alleged incident took place in Estate Profit, I’m also going to require that he stay inside of the house. Not even outside on the porch. Inside at all times. If the police drive by and see him outside, he’s going back to jail,” Morris said.