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  08/25/2016 Woman Sentenced For Box Cutter Attack  

ST. THOMAS, V.I. – V.I. Superior Court Judge Michael Dunston handed Nicaise Steele a one-year suspended sentence for wounding Wendell Nibbs, Jr., with a box cutter. 

Steele, 47, was charged with third-degree assault, using a dangerous weapon and disturbance of the peace stemming from a February incident at the K-Mart store in Tutu Park Mall.

Steele accepted a plea deal offered by Attorney General Claude Earl Walker and pleaded guilty to third-degree assault. In exchange for her plea of guilt, Assistant Attorney General Nadja Harrigan recommended that the two remaining counts be dismissed and that the court impose a two-year suspended prison sentence, two years of probation, a $1,00 fine, 50 hours of community service and court costs and fees. 

Public defender, Kwame Motilewa, who said his client did not set out that February morning to injure anyone, asked the court to sentence Steele in accordance with the plea agreement.

V.I. Superior Court Judge Michael Dunston varied from the plea agreement and sentenced Steele to one year at the Bureau of Corrections with all but one day suspended “because of the significance of the injury.” Dunston also placed Steele on supervised probation for one year, ordered her to make $458.75 restitution to Nibbs and pay court costs and fees within the first nine months of her probation and perform 100 hours of community service. Steele’s sentence also requires her to enroll in, regularly attend and successfully complete an anger management class. 

Police arrested Steele on Feb. 15 after they responded to a report of disturbance of the peace. On arrival at the scene, police made contact with Nibbs, who was bleeding from a laceration to the left side of his ribs and left upper arm, Police Officer Ingrid Bukle wrote in an affidavit to support Steele’s arrest.

Nibbs told police that as he was leaving the store, he got into an argument with Steele, who pushed him and a scuffle ensued. Nibbs said someone separated them, but later, Nibbs realized that he was bleeding. Police later arrested Steele after Nibbs identified her as the person who assaulted him. Nibbs sustained two injuries from the assault and was taken to Schneider hospital where he received 43 sutures to close both lacerations, according to Bukle. 

Steele told the court that her actions were not intentional and that she was defending herself.

“I have no aggression with Mr. Nibbs or his family,” she said in open court. “I’m sorry, your honor. It has affected him, but it has affected me even more because a second career that I’m pursuing has been hampered.” 

Nibbs also addressed the court during the hearing. He said the incident at K-Mart began at Cost-U-Less when he accidentally bumped Steele’s foot with a grocery cart.

  Woman sentenced for box cutter attack.pdf