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Judicial Resolution in Complex Case Leads to Reduced Sentence for St. Thomas Resident

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Official 2021 photograph of Mackeem Appleton provided by the Virgin Islands Police Department.

A significant turn of events in St. Thomas has led to a man, initially facing grave accusations, securing his imminent release through a judicial agreement. This development effectively dismisses allegations of sexual assault, child mistreatment, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Mackeem Appleton, apprehended in October 2021, was implicated in the sexual assault of a young female, an incident reported to have occurred at his domicile on July 1. The ensuing investigation unveiled photos and videos showcasing Appleton with the minor, then 16, in sexually explicit scenarios. It was revealed by the minor’s mother that Appleton’s questionable interactions with her daughter commenced when the girl was 13.

The investigative process was set in motion following a report filed by the minor’s mother, declaring her daughter missing. Law enforcement officials subsequently located the girl attempting to escape through a window of the apartment Appleton occupied with his partner and their children, despite initial claims by the couple denying the girl’s presence.

In a twist, the minor disclosed to authorities her deceit regarding her age to Appleton. However, law enforcement discovered messages from Appleton to the minor’s mother, conveying apologies for the distress caused to her family and acknowledging the minor’s true age.

March 2023 saw the dismissal of the case against Appleton after negotiations for a plea deal fell through, only for the charges to be reinstated shortly thereafter. A breakthrough came in February 2024, just days ahead of the final pre-trial conference, when a plea deal was finalized. The agreement proposed by prosecutors led to the dismissal of multiple charges, including aggravated and second-degree rape, unlawful sexual contact, child abuse, and delinquency contribution, in exchange for Appleton’s guilty plea to third-degree assault.

This plea agreement entails a four-year prison term for Appleton, adjusted for time already served, and includes a stipulation prohibiting any future contact with the victim and her family. Notably, the arrangement exempts Appleton from sex offender registration requirements.

At the sentencing hearing on February 22, further leniency was shown, with Appleton’s incarceration period being adjusted to 3.5 years, marking a conclusion to a case that has drawn considerable attention for its complexities and the legal precedents it may set.

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Crime

Violent Robbery at Starz Hotel in St. Thomas Leaves Man Injured

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A violent encounter unfolded at Starz Hotel in the Contant area of St. Thomas, where an armed robbery took place in the early hours of Saturday. Local authorities were summoned to the location around 2:48 a.m. on April 13, following reports of the distressing event.

The V.I. Police Department reported that upon arrival, they learned from the victim that two assailants, described as black males, had exited a vehicle and confronted him. The robbers, armed and aggressive, knocked the man to the ground and struck his head with a gun. They proceeded to steal his chain, rummage through his pockets, and take his wallet before escaping in an SUV heading east.

Emergency responders transported the victim to Schneider Regional Medical Center. He received treatment for multiple injuries, which included a head contusion, chest bruising, lacerations inside his mouth, and damage to his left palm.

The VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau is actively pursuing leads in this case. They urge anyone with information related to this crime to contact them at 340-774-2211 ext. 5574, dial 911 for immediate assistance, or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers V.I.

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Crime

Former Deputy Park Superintendent of St. Croix Sentenced for Property Conversion and Fraud

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ST. CROIX, VI – Gregory Camacho, 43, previously Deputy Park Superintendent for the National Park Service in St. Croix, received a sentence of nine months of home detention and four years of probation for unlawfully converting property, according to U.S. Attorney for the USVI, Delia L. Smith. The sentencing was handed down by District Judge Wilma A. Lewis on Thursday.

In addition to home detention and probation, Judge Lewis imposed a $6,000 fine and a special assessment of $75 on Camacho. He was also ordered to pay restitution amounting to $29,502.20 to the National Park Service.

According to court filings, Camacho, during his tenure as acting park superintendent from June 2019 to August 2020, occupied two housing units owned by the National Park Service without fulfilling rental payments, causing a loss of $14,192.10. In another instance in July 2019, Camacho deceitfully claimed relocation expenses for his family’s move from Titusville, FL, to St. Croix, even though he moved alone. This action led to unjust reimbursements totaling $13,387.50.

Furthermore, between October 2018 and September 2019, Camacho was found to have submitted overlapping travel vouchers for the same trips from his primary duty station, resulting in an additional $1,922.50 in improper gains.

These findings were brought to light through an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior, with the case prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel H. Huston.

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Crime

Daylight Assault in St. Thomas Leaves Man Injured

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A distressing incident unfolded on St. Thomas when a man suffered injuries in a daylight assault in Simmonds Alley, according to a statement from the V.I. Police Department. The attack occurred on Wednesday around 12:15 p.m.

Authorities were alerted to the situation when the 911 Emergency Call Center received a call about a man found bleeding from the neck near the Jala Jala establishment on Kronprindsens Gade. Responding officers discovered the victim with a severe laceration on the left side of his neck, believed to be the result of the assault.

Despite the seriousness of his injuries, the victim refrained from providing a statement to law enforcement at the scene. He was quickly transported to Schneider Regional Medical Center for medical attention.

The VIPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau has taken charge of the investigation and is urging the public to assist by providing any relevant information. Individuals can contact the CIB at (340) 774-2211 or call 911. For those preferring to stay anonymous, tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers USVI by calling 1-800-222-8477 or online.

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