Judge Gives 'Big Break' Due to First Offense to Man Who Allegedly Choked Woman Until She Vomited; Suspect's Work Travel Plans Allowed

Crime Published On June 08, 2021 06:11 AM
Kia Griffith | June 08, 2021 06:11:40 AM


ST. CROIX — A St. Croix man was arrested and charged with assault in the second degree and simple assault and battery, both acts of domestic violence, after allegedly strangling a woman to the point of vomiting in her home. 

The suspect, Shevron Phillips, appeared before the V.I. Superior Court via teleconference from the Golden Grove Correctional Facility on Monday for his advisement hearing, which was presided over by Judge Miguel A. Camacho.  

According to the probable cause fact sheet, on the eve of June 6 at about 9:30 p.m., Police Detective Ellery C. Quailey responded to conduct a follow-up investigation into the incident. Officer Sharon Heywood was already at the home, detained Phillips, and briefed Det. Quailey, the fact sheet said.

Earlier that evening, according to the probable cause fact sheet, the victim stated that after returning home from being out with her friend, she went inside to lay on her bed. Thereafter, Phillips arrived and argued with the victim outside and then went inside the residence to the bedroom. He hit her in the face repeatedly and strangled her neck with his right hand. When he calmed down for a few seconds, he released his grip, left the bedroom, and the victim began vomiting, according to the fact sheet. 

Det. Quailey stated in the fact sheet that physical lacerations, markings, and contusions were observed on the victim from the neck to forehead area. 

Phillips had prior travel arrangements to temporarily leave island for a job on the mainland, so his defense provided by the Office of the Territorial Public Defender Attorney Leslie Davis argued, “This is Mr. Phillips’ first offense, and he has never been arrested before.”

The following conditions were requested by Attn. Davis: bail set at $1,000 (allowed to post 10% plus 1 with the remainder unsecured), file a waiver of extradition, reside with a third-party custodian until his departure from the territory, and supply address on the mainland.

V.I. Assistant Attorney General Mackiesh Taylor-Jones asked that the bail be fully secured to give assurances that Phillips would return for trial. Additionally, Attn. Taylor-Jones referred to the allegations against Phillips as “disturbing—hitting the victim repeatedly in her face, choking her multiple times until she vomited,” referencing the details in the probable cause fact sheet. 

Unable to secure his bail, the defense requested that Phillips be released on Monday and allowed to post $1,000 on Tuesday. 

Judge Camacho made concessions and said to Phillips, “I’m going to give you a big break today. I’m telling you this because it’s a big break. I want you to take full advantage of this.”

The court allowed his release on Monday with the ability to post bail by Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. The court also approved his work travel plans provided that he return to the territory to face his charges. 

“You’re a young man [with] no prior history with the criminal justice system, so you have a big break here,” the presiding judge reiterated. Phillips continuously thanked the Judge. “I don’t want to see you in front of me again, but you have to face these charges whatever happens,” the Judge concluded. 

Judge Camacho also found probable cause for the following:

  • Michael E. Austrie was charged with driving under the influence of an intoxicating liquor in violation of V.I.C. Title 20, Section 493, Subsection (a)(1) and negligent driving in violation of V.I.C. Title 20, Section 503. His license was suspended immediately pending resolution of this case. Austrie’s license was also posted in lieu of bail. 
  • Shomari J. Ferrance was charged with carrying a firearm openly or concealed in violation of Title 14, Section 2253, Subsection (a) of the Virgin Islands Code. Bail was set at $50,000 (with the ability to post $5,000 cash with an unsecured balance). The proposed third-party custodian was denied. If unable to provide another third-party custodian and post 10% of bail, Ferrance will continue to be incarcerated pending trial. 



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