“Other Persons of Interest” in Malfetti Stabbing Death, Private Investigator Says

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One month after a young New Jersey man was found murdered in his south shore apartment, the private investigator working for the man’s family has “other persons of interest” in the investigation of the stabbing death.

V.I. Police Department investigators, meanwhile, have been in contact with the family of James Malfetti III in New Jersey, but are still withholding any information on their “active investigation.”

“They (Malfetti family members) have been contacted by VIPD, but there are no new developments by VIPD that we have been made aware of,” said Todd Phoenix, a private investigator who is working for the Malfetti family.

Malfetti family private investigator William Phoenix has never asserted Malfetti was murdered in a case of mistaken identity, although Phoenix has confirmed to Tradewinds he was aware of the island rumor that Malfetti may have been killed after being mistaken for the previous tenant of the apartment he had recently rented.

The former tenant, employed at one of the island’s resorts, had been assaulted in an incident in Cruz Bay and was pressing charges against at least one person, according to Tradewinds sources who did not have specific information on the assault or the case.

The young man has told friends and acquaintances that he was the intended target of the attack on Malfetti, but speaking with him is not a priority for Phoenix.

“We have other persons of interest,” private investigator Phoenix told Tradewinds in an e-mail on Friday, February 21.

Was Stolen Television Recovered?
The private investigator was guarded in his comments or answers to questions from Tradewinds concerning the investigation, including the whereabouts of a large screen television stolen from the apartment during or after the stabbing murder of Malfetti.

“I will answer what I can while keeping my client’s and the investigation’s best interest in focus,” the private investigator e-mailed Tradewinds. “That being said, I’m not prepared to discuss the television at this time.”

It had been rumored that VIPD investigators had questioned and released a young neighborhood man with a criminal record for burglary, but a VIPD spokesperson subsequently said investigators had not questioned and released anyone.

Prior Assault Down Played
Tradewinds has not been able to determine if that purportedly related criminal case had been dropped before Malfetti’s murder; but the family’s investigator down played the importance of the incident.

“I don’t have the exact dates of his assault but it occurred right in town, close to Rhumb Lines, I think,” said Phoenix.
The investigator previously worked for the family of Jamie Cockayne, a young Pennsylvania visitor who died from a stab wound suffered when he was attacked in Enighed in June 2007.

Three young island men were convicted of involvement in the Cockayne murder after the case received national notoriety through Anderson Cooper of CNN who was contacted by the Cockayne family.

Despite calls by New Jersey U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez for Federal Bureau of Investigation involvement in the investigation of Malfetti’s murder, the FBI has not had significant involvement in the investigation, according to Phoenix.

“We were told the FBI is involved in a ‘limited’ capacity,” said the Malfetti’s investigator whose Phoenix Investigations is based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

A VIPD spokesperson has said officials will issue statements when they have something to release to the public.

Investigator Confirms Time Frame 
Phoenix has confirmed the time frame of the events leading up to the discovery of Malfetti’s body on January 19.

“The burglary (to the main residence) occurred between the hours of 11 p.m. Friday night (January 17) and the time they awoke and reported it Saturday morning (January 18),” Phoenix previously told Tradewinds. “(The owner) reported the burglary to their residence. They were home at the time the burglary occurred.”

“His car and Jimmy were discovered on the 19th. Their caretaker discovered Jimmy Sunday morning,” Phoenix continued. “There is no evidence to support that the homicide did not occur during the same time frame as the burglary to the Davidson’s home.”

“Jimmy’s car was located on Rendezvous the same day his body was found, January 19,” the private investigator confirmed.