Residents Fearful Amid Report of Suspect Released in Murder

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The residents of the Boatman Point neighborhood were breathing easier in late January amid reports that a suspect has been identified and detained in connection with the murder of young man in an apartment in the exclusive south shore neighborhood, but their anxiety soon returned.

Unconfirmed reports of a suspect in custody for the stabbing death of James Malfetti, 41, started Saturday night, January 25, according to one neighbor “by Sunday night it was spreading like poison ivy.”

By Friday, January 31, residents were once again  concerned for the safety of their neighborhood amid reports the suspect had not been arrested.

“We have heard he was questioned and released,” said the resident who was trying to reach government officials for further information.

Several neighborhood residents identified the purported suspect as a 22-year-old resident of an adjoining neighborhood with a history of arrest and conviction after a “series of break-ins three years ago.”

“He was convicted here and served time on the mainland,” the resident told Tradewinds.

Another south shore resident identified the same suspect as having been questioned by police and said the police linked the young man to the crime by the way the perpetrator gained entry to Malfetti’s apartment, which was similar to incidents for which the suspect previously had been convicted.

VIPD Has No Information on Arrest
Despite the neighborhood reports of an arrest, there was no information on any arrest or the detention of any suspect, according to V.I. Police Department spokesperson Melody Rames.

“The detectives continue to actively investigate the Malfetti case and follow all leads,” Rames said. “However no additional information can be released to the media on this case at this time.”

St. John Deputy Police Chief Maria Jones had confirmed Sunday afternoon, January 19, that police were investigating a suspicious death at an apartment on Boatman Road. 911 Emergency Dispatch notified police of the case at 9:55 a.m. that morning.

Malfetti may have been killed after the attempted robbery of the owners of the house in which his apartment was located in the days before his body was found, sources have told Tradewinds.

The VIPD reported one week after the discovery of Malfetti’s body that their investigation was continuing. This case was being investigated by the VIPD Major Crime Bureau and Intelligence Agents. Forensic technicians collected and are processing evidence.

“It is an ongoing investigation,” Rames said.

Malfetti had lived and worked on St. John for several years as a computer consultant, according to friends. 

Friends of Malfetti gathered at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Cruz Bay on Friday, January 24, for a memorial service. Malfetti’s parents traveled to St. John from New Jersey and returned their son’s body to the states after the memorial service.

VIPD Seeks Public Assistance
The investigators are urging anyone who can assist them in determining the circumstances surrounding this death to call 714-9834, 715-5522, 911 or you can call Crimes Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-TIPS.

The murder was the first homicide of the year on St. John and the first since August 2012. It was the third homicide in the territory this year.

The most recent murder on St. John was that of Tiny Jah Jarvis, 31, who was shot to death in the Bellevue Village housing community on August 17, 2012. Ralph Titre, 23, was charged with murder, and a 17-year-old later was charged in connection with the case for being in possession of the murder weapon.