ST. THOMAS, V.I. – A 52-year-old father of four learned of his fate
today for fatally wounding another man with a rock, over a cigarette lighter.
Having pleading guilty to smashing in Ellmeade Daniel’s
head with a rock and killing him, Mario E. Brown appeared before V.I. Superior
Court Judge Michael Dunston Wednesday morning for his sentencing.
Brown, who was charged with first-degree murder,
first-degree assault, second-degree murder, third-degree assault, using a
dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence and voluntary
manslaughter in connection with the September 2015 incident, accepted a plea
deal offered by the Attorney General and pleaded guilty to voluntary
manslaughter and possession of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a
crime of violence.
In his allocution to the court reciting the terms of the
plea bargain, Assistant Attorney General Eugene James Connor, Jr. recommended
that Brown be sentenced to 15 years’ incarceration.
“This case involved the death of the victim,” Connor said.
Public defender, Kwami Motilewa, asked the court to have
leniency and mercy on his client as he has suffered and continues to suffer
from several defects, including emotional stability and schizophrenic trends.
Motilewa then suggested to the court that in light of those and other factors,
Brown’s sentences for the two convictions should run concurrently, “such as in
the aggregate, he will spend 10 years and be given credit for time served.”
One of Brown’s son, Jameel Brown, apologized in open court
in behalf of his father to the victim’s family and asked the court to send his
father to a rehabilitation center “so he can become a better person in
Having heard the pleas for leniency and pleas of
mitigation, Dunston handed down his punishment and sentenced Brown to 71/2
years imprisonment for the weapons conviction and 10 years behind bars for
voluntary manslaughter with credit for the 337 days he has already served at
the Bureau of Corrections. Both sentences are to run concurrently. Dunston
dismissed the remaining four counts with prejudice and also ordered Brown to
pay restitution in the amount of $4,445.97.
“I am going to recommend to BOC that you be enrolled in
mental health counseling or treatment program,” Dunston added.
Brown was arrested on Sept. 22, 2015 after an eyewitness
identified him as the person who struck Daniel, 59, on the head with a rock.
When officers responded to the incident at Sanchez Town, Est. Nadir, they found
Daniel lying on the ground and bleeding from his head. He was unresponsive,
Det. Nigel James stated in his probable cause fact sheet.
According to the eyewitness’ account, Daniel and another
man were sitting under a shed at a bar when Brown approached Daniel and asked
him for a lighter. Daniel told Brown that he did not have a lighter. Brown ran
to the back of the bar and returned with a rock, which he used to strike Daniel
on the head, James wrote.
The witness shook Daniel, but he did not respond. The
witness then went to a friend’s house 20 minutes away and the friend called
911. Emergency Medical Technicians who arrived on the scene pronounced Daniel
dead. The eyewitness viewed a police photo array and positively identified
Brown as the individual who struck Daniel with a rock, according to James’
probable cause fact sheet.