ST. THOMAS, V.I. - A man who pleaded guilty to arson was remanded
to the Bureau of Corrections on Tuesday to begin serving his six-month prison
Superior Court Judge Denise Francois sentenced James Nibbs, 40, to a three-year
prison term with all but six months suspended and two and a half years of
supervised probation. Judge Francois also ordered Nibbs to pay $4,636 in
restitution to the victim within nine months of his release from incarceration,
as well as probation fees and court costs.
On Jan. 25, a
jury was seated for Nibbs’ trial and the prosecution had already presented its
case in chief when Nibbs accepted a plea deal proffered by Attorney General
Claude Earl Walker and pleaded guilty to the single count he faced – second-degree
arson – in connection with a Dec. 28, 2015 incident. This was Nibbs’ second trial. His first
trial, which lasted Aug. 11 to12, 2016, was declared a mistrial after the jury
was deadlocked and could not reach a verdict.
accepted the guilty plea and set Feb. 28 as the date for Nibbs’ sentencing.
Nibbs on Jan. 21, 2016, after a woman reported that someone burned her vehicle.
According to an
affidavit filed by police detective, Alex Dorsett, the victim told police that
on Oct. 10, 2015, Nibbs left a message on her mobile phone that he wanted his
money or else he will come and burn her vehicle. Then, on Dec. 8, 2015 at about
12:30 a.m., Nibbs went to the Mariel C. Newton Command and reported to a police
officer that he just burned a vehicle in the Frydenhoj area. On that same day
at about 6:30 a.m., the victim called 911 and reported that someone burnt her
During Nibbs’ arrest
on Jan. 21, Dorsett played the voicemail recording that was left on the
victim’s cellular phone and Nibbs said, “I didn’t mean the message; I was just
upset at the time,” Dorsett wrote in his affidavit.
The case was
prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Natasha Baker.