St. John Tradewinds News

Charges Dismissed Against Ferguson and Colaire in Geiger Attack

Charges have been dropped against the two men, Nestor Colaire and Robert Ferguson, who were accused of helping Renell Lettsome set fire to David Geiger’s Estate Grunwald home on October 29, 2005.

Prosecutors alleged the two St. John men returned to Geiger’s house with Lettsome — after Lettsome had bludgeoned Geiger to death and severely beaten Geiger’s son Nathan — and set the house on fire to conceal the crime, leaving the unconscious Nathan inside.

Colaire, 18, and Ferguson, 19, faced charges of attempted murder, arson and being accessories after the fact.

V.I. Assistant Attorney General Ernest Bason announced Superior Court Judge Rhys Hodge had granted his request to dismiss the charges without prejudice against the two men on Friday, August 11 — the same day Lettsome, 21, was found guilty of second degree murder, second degree attempted murder, assault, arson and weapons charges in the crime.

Not Enough Evidence
“We don’t have enough evidence to convict them,” Bason said about Colaire and Ferguson.

The prosecutor said he had hoped for Nathan — the only surviving eyewitness — to recover his memory of the events of October 29.

Nathan only remembers going to sleep around 11 p.m. on the night of October 28, and then waking up in a Puerto Rico hospital two days later, Geiger testified during Lettsome’s trial.

There is no statute of limitations for murder in the Virgin Islands, leaving open the possibility Colaire and Ferguson could be charged in the future if Nathan does recover his memory, Bason explained.

Implicated by Girlfriend
Officials secured arrest warrants for Colaire and Ferguson when Lettsome’s girlfriend, Amber Taylor, implicated them in a lengthy affidavit detailing Lettsome’s alleged statements to her about the crime.

After Lettsome killed David Geiger, and thought he had killed 14-year-old Nathan, he went to Colaire’s home and cleaned up, according to Taylor’s affidavit.

Colaire and Ferguson then returned to Geiger’s home with Lettsome and helped him set the house on fire to hide the crime, Taylor said in her affidavit.

Taylor, the mother of Lett-some’s young son, was not in the territory during Lettsome’s trial because the V.I. Attorney Gene-ral’s office had relocated her to Florida, out of reach of V.I. court subpoena. Taylor’s account of events would have amounted to hearsay and would not have been admissible in court.

Lettsome’s Confession
During Lettsome’s murder trial, V.I. Police Department Detective Delbert Phipps testified Lettsome also named Colaire and Ferguson in one of his signed confessions.

In that confession — which was made in Tortola before the murder suspect was extradited to the U.S.V.I. — Lettsome said he went to Colaire’s home after the murder and beating of the Geigers, according to Phipp’s testimony.

Colaire and Ferguson followed Lettsome back to Geiger’s house and waited outside while he set the home on fire to conceal the crime, Lettsome said in his confession.

Colaire and Ferguson surrendered to authorities on Decem-ber 12 — after the two returned from Florida where they claimed they had attempted to enroll in the U.S. Jobs Corps program.

Colaire Sent Back to Jail
The two were initially held on $75,000 bail each, but Superior Court Rhys Hodge eventually released them on unsecured bonds. They were required to check in with VIPD officials daily and were to be in their homes by 8 p.m.

In June, Colaire was remanded back to the St. Thomas Correctional Facility after it was determined that he broke his curfew and threatened a former co-worker. Colaire was in jail until August 11, when his defense attorney, John Stout, secured his release. Stout did not return repeated calls from the St. John Tradewinds requesting comment.