Local businessman Robert Sells pled not guilty to felony intimidation, disturbing the peace and aggravated assault and battery charges on Thursday, November 3, before Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar. The long-time St. John resident requested a jury trial and no date was set for his case to be heard.
When Sells returned to his Estate Adrian home on Thursday night, he discovered that it had been ransacked sometime that evening.
V.I. Police Department officials are conducting an investigation into the incident and collecting forensic evidence.
Sells, owner of Close Reach Imports, was arrested by citizens arrest in June for assaulting a neighboring business owner, Esther Frett, in Meadas Plaza. The V.I. Police Department report on the June 3 incident states that Sells bumped into the woman, pushing her slightly, causing her to become off-balance.
The original charges stemming from the altercation were filed as misdemeanors and Sells was released on bail.
Felony Charges Replace Misdemeanors
Those misdemeanor charges were dropped and two new felony intimidation charges, in addition to the aggravated assault and battery and disturbing the peace charges, were filed on Friday, October 14, in Territorial Court.
Sells has not been named as a suspect in relation to any of the reported bias-motivated incidents and allegations involving Frett during the summer, but the businessman was the target of two arsons.
Following a heated town meeting in Frank Powell Sr. Park on August 31,one day after Frett reported she was attacked at her East End home, Sells Jeep was set ablaze in front of his Cruz Bay store. The next night, his shop was gutted by fire.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigation both suspected arsons and officials have not released any information.