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Kyle Christopher Reaches Plea Deal Over Tragic Death of 4-Year-Old Aaron Benjamin Jr.



In a recent development on August 17, both the prosecution and defendant Kyle Christopher have reached a plea agreement, circumventing the anticipated trial for the first-degree murder of 4-year-old Aaron Benjamin Jr. This trial was initially slated to commence the following Monday.

The harrowing incident took place in the Lorraine Village housing community apartment, where young Aaron was discovered dead on October 18, 2019. A subsequent medical examination of his body highlighted disturbing signs: both fresh and old abrasions, evidence of bite marks, and a notably blackened left eye. Subsequent inquiries revealed, through the boy’s sister, that Christopher allegedly used a black stick to routinely assault both siblings.

Christopher’s side of the narrative was one of regret and admittance. He confessed to physically assaulting the young child, which led Aaron to accidentally topple over, ultimately hitting his head against a chair. Apart from the murder charge, the charges levied against Christopher were of a severe nature, including aggravated assault and battery, severe child abuse and neglect, and third-degree assault.

However, the plea deal arranged on the said date will lead Christopher to admit guilt for Aaron’s tragic death, under the counts of severe child abuse and neglect. This agreement will effectively drop all other charges against him with prejudice – ensuring that these particular charges won’t be brought forward by the prosecution in the future.

Interestingly, this plea isn’t the first of its kind. A similar agreement had been documented in 2020, spearheaded by then Assistant Attorney General Esther Walters. Due to administrative delays, the deal was not presented in court until 2022. Unfortunately, by that point, Walters had already recalled the agreement through a correspondence sent to Christopher’s counsel in October 2021. This setback rendered the agreement null in the eyes of the court.

With this valid plea now in place, it’s expected that a fresh sentencing date will soon be assigned for Christopher. The agreement also dictates that the duration of his incarceration could range between 5 to 30 years. Additionally, it’s noteworthy that Delicia Daniels, mother of Aaron, is presently serving her sentence. Following a 2021 plea deal for admitting to child abuse, she received a punishment of 18 years – although she was credited for the slightly more than two years she had spent in custody during her trial period.

The untimely demise of young Aaron Benjamin Jr. garnered even more attention due to subsequent revelations. It was unearthed that Aaron Benjamin Sr., the child’s father, had persistently reached out to the V.I. Department of Human Services, voicing concerns over potential child abuse at the Lorraine Village residence. He expressed that his children had confided in him about being physically abused by Christopher and their reluctance to return to the Lorraine Village apartment. Despite numerous reports, the Department of Human Services reportedly showcased a concerning level of apathy. This triggered an internal audit post the tragic incident involving the 4-year-old.

While the findings of the audit remain undisclosed to the public, DHS Commissioner Kimberly Causey-Gomez did indicate in 2020 that significant personnel modifications and disciplinary measures were executed following the internal investigation.

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St. Croix Woman Charged with Felony Assault After Rejecting Romantic Advances



ST. CROIX — A woman is facing felony assault charges following an incident where she allegedly attacked a friend she met on Facebook after her romantic advances were rejected.

According to court documents, a resident of a Christiansted housing complex called 911 on the afternoon of June 8 to report an assault by a woman named “Gypsy” inside one of the apartments. The assault victim later arrived at the Ancilmo Marshall Command police station to provide her account of the incident.

Police observed the woman’s swollen face, black and blue right eye, and an abrasion on the right side of her head. Despite experiencing pain in her nose, face, and neck, and reporting four lumps on her forehead, she declined medical attention and began recounting the events.

The woman explained that “Gypsy,” identified as Mary Rose Cullens, sent her a Facebook friend request in April. They communicated sporadically until June 5, when Cullens invited her to hang out. On June 7, Cullens picked her up, and they attended an event at a local nightclub before returning to Cullens’ hotel. That night, Cullens made several unwanted sexual advances, all of which were declined.

On June 8, after a trip to the beach, the two women parted ways. The victim returned to her apartment, secured the door, and went to sleep with her minor child. She was awakened by Cullens, who was standing on her bed, punching her in the face while her child screamed. The victim attempted to defend herself but was overpowered. Cullens then removed a portable air conditioner from the window and threw it near the child. She also threw eggs against the wall and floor before leaving, prompted by a neighbor’s call to 911.

Police found the apartment smelling of egg yolk and tried to contact Cullens, but she had already checked out of her hotel. Unable to locate her at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, police issued a temporary warrant for her arrest. Cullens was later spotted at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas, attempting to buy a ticket to New Jersey. She was detained by Customs and Border Protection officials and handed over to the police.

Cullens declined to provide a statement to officers and was arrested, charged with first-degree burglary, home invasion, simple assault and battery, and damage to property. She was held in custody until her advice of rights hearing on June 11.

In court, Judge Ernest Morris Jr. found probable cause to uphold all charges against Cullens. Bail was set at $75,000, requiring her to pay $4,000 in cash with the remainder as an unsecured bond for release before trial. Cullens’ next court appearance is scheduled for June 26.

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Man with Extensive Arrest Record Faces New Gun Charges



ST. THOMAS — A man with a lengthy history of arrests is once again in legal trouble, this time for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

According to court documents, police noticed a man fleeing from a patrol unit on Strand Street towards Curacao Gade early last Thursday morning, around 1:35 a.m. Officers subsequently searched the R2R Lounge, where they encountered Ruben George, who exhibited a strong odor of alcohol.

The officers questioned George about a vehicle registered in his name that was reportedly involved in an assault earlier that night and a hit-and-run collision. George explained that his white Jeep Liberty had been with his mechanic since June 5 for brake repairs, and he had rented a black Toyota Corolla from the mechanic in the interim. He claimed he was at R2R Lounge awaiting the return of his Jeep.

While waiting for detectives from the Criminal Investigation Bureau to arrive, officers noticed the butt of a black firearm between the driver’s seat and center console of the rental car. When asked if he had a firearm license, George admitted he did not and claimed the gun belonged to his cousin, who had asked him to store it. George also revealed he was on probation until later this month.

Despite his claims, officers confiscated the Springfield S&W .380 Shield and arrested George for illegal firearm possession. The loaded magazine found with the weapon led to an additional charge of ammunition possession. George was taken into custody pending his first court appearance.

On June 7, Magistrate Paula Norkaitis upheld the charges, setting bail at $25,000, of which George must post 10 percent to secure his release before trial. Once released, George must adhere to a curfew from midnight to 7:00 a.m., remain within the St. Thomas/St. John/Water Island jurisdiction, report to the probation office twice weekly by phone, refrain from possessing firearms, and maintain his current employment.

George’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 21.

Since 2009, George has been arrested at least six times, excluding the current charges. He has pleaded guilty to crimes such as third-degree assault and the use of a dangerous weapon with intent to use. Other serious charges, including home invasion and robbery, were dismissed, while a 2009 first-degree murder charge resulted in acquittal.

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St. Thomas Vacation Becomes Ordeal as Couple Kidnapped, Woman Raped



A vacation in St. Thomas turned into a harrowing ordeal for a couple from Texas when they were kidnapped and the woman was raped. Richard Albert, now facing multiple felony charges, reportedly forced the couple to comply with his demands over several hours last Wednesday.

Court documents reveal that the couple was on Lindbergh Bay beach around 8 to 9 p.m. when a man, dressed in black and wearing a ski mask, approached them. Albert, allegedly armed, demanded they engage in sexual activity, then stopped them and seized their mobile phone.

The suspect then forced the couple to leave the beach, remove his mask, and drove them to various locations, including a bank where he compelled them to withdraw cash. They were also forced to purchase marijuana and alcohol at a service station.

Albert allegedly brandished his weapon to ensure compliance while insisting he wasn’t forcing them. He then took the couple back to the beach, where he drank and smoked with them. Eventually, he demanded sex from the woman, leaving her boyfriend on the beach without a working phone. Albert took the woman to a secluded area, threatened her with his gun, and raped her before returning her to the beach and demanding she respond to his texts.

The couple provided a detailed description of Albert and his vehicle, leading to his identification. Police apprehended Albert at the Crown Bay Marina parking lot. He admitted to meeting the couple and discussing sexual activity but denied coercing them.

Albert was arrested and charged with first-degree rape, unlawful sexual contact, false imprisonment, kidnapping, extortion, robbery, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. Magistrate Simone VanHolten-Turnbull granted Albert pre-trial release, with his mother acting as his custodian. His next court appearance is set for June 28.

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