Armed with new evidence, V.I. Police Department officials arrested Michael Abraham on Wednesday, January 2, and charged him with first-degree murder more than a month after he fatally shot 22-year-old Alston Smith in the face in the Pine Peace area.
Shortly after the November 29 shooting, the police log listed that Abraham’s mother called the V.I. Police Department’s Leander Jurgen Command and reported that her son had just killed someone and would turn himself in.
She took Abraham to the Cruz Bay station where he turned over a .45 caliber gun and told former VIPD St. John Deputy Chief Angelo Hill he killed Smith.
Although Abraham did not make any further statements regarding the shooting after his lawyer arrived, police charged him with first degree murder and use of an unlicensed gun. At Abraham’s first court appearance the next day, however, prosecutors only charged him with possession of an unlicensed firearm.
“Prosecutors said that despite the confession, they did not have enough evidence at the time to charge murder — which requires proof of intentional, premeditated killing — or even a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter,” according to a report in the V.I. Daily News.
V.I. Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall released Abraham to the custody of his mother on an unsecured $20,000 bond after his advice of rights hearing on November 30.
Abraham remained out of prison until VIPD officials arrested him again on January 2 and charged him this time with first degree murder and first degree assault charges.
VIPD officials received new information from a resident who witnessed Abraham threaten to shoot Smith in the face less than an hour before the killing which allowed for prosecutors to bring the new charges, according to the published report.
Appearing before V.I. Superior Court Judge Michael Dunston on Thursday, January 3, Abraham was advised of his rights regarding the murder, assault, and possession of ammunition and using an unlicensed firearm during a crime of violence.
St. Thomas Medical Examiner Francisco Landron’s autopsy confirmed Pine Peace area residents’ reports of hearing two shots fired.
The autopsy revealed Smith was fatally shot in the face and once on the left side of his body, according to a V.I. Daily News report.
The witness’s account also confirms neighbors’ reports that Smith and Abraham argued in the area of Nature’s Nook shortly before the shooting.
Abraham had already posted twice the amount of the $100,000 bail set in his arrest warrant before his court appearance on January 3, and was released to the custody of his mother.