- Written by Tom Oat
James Malfetti III
ST. JOHN — The lawyer for the New Jersey family of murder victim James Malfetti, III is “outraged” a Superior Court Judge is considering the release to house arrest with no bond of Mekel Blash, 27, who is charged with the January 18, 2014, first degree murder of the young internet entrepreneur.
A discovery hearing has been set in the matter for Tuesday, July 7, although no date has been set yet for an arraignment hearing at which the defendant enters a plea. No trial date is set until after an arraignment.
“We are outraged that the Judge would even ponder releasing a defendant who is charged with a first degree murder who has a prior criminal record and faces life imprisonment,” Atty. Nancy E. Lucianna wrote St. John Tradewinds. Atty. Lucianna is in the territory to attend Blash’s arraignment,
Victim Stabbed to Death
Malfetti, 41, a successful internet entrepreneur who had relocated to St. John to indulge his love for paddle boarding, was found dead of stab wounds after an apparent burglary at his apartment in a south shore residential neighborhood. Atty. Lucianna practices law in the U.S. Virgin Islands and in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Malfetti’s home state.
“Consideration of this unorthodox bail is inappropriate and endangers the public,” Atty. Lucianna wrote. “His bail as presently constituted, $500,000, is too low and releasing him on house arrest would be against the Bail Reform Act and the V.I. Code dealing with the prohibition of releasing without substantial monetary bond one charged with a first degree murder.”
“The fact that the defendant Blash has a criminal record (he was only released from prison five weeks before this crime) and is facing life imprisonment makes him a flight risk and a danger to the community,” added the New Jersey Attorney, who also is licensed to practice law in the Virgin Islands.