ST. THOMAS, V.I. – A 24-year-old St. Thomas man has pleaded guilty
to fatally shooting an innocent bystander outside a nightclub in October 2015.
Jibri K. Roberts, 24, of Bonne
Esperance pleaded guilty to the Oct. 24, 2015 murder of Rajkumarie Hendrickson,
who was shot and killed outside the Jala Jala nightclub on Kronprindsens Gade.
Two men – Kareem Mathias and Chad Fredericks – were also injured in the
Roberts was scheduled to stand
trial on 16 charges, including first-degree murder, but rather than face a
jury, he accepted the terms of a closed plea agreement, which was negotiated by
Assistant Attorney General Daniel Huston and defense attorney, Darren
Roberts appeared in court on
Monday for a change of plea hearing and stood before V.I. Superior Court Judge
Michael Dunston to formally admit to the crime. Under the terms of the plea
agreement, Roberts entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder and the remaining
counts against him were dismissed. The plea offer also recommended that Roberts
be sentenced to a 20-year prison term. A second-degree murder conviction
carries a penalty of not less than five years.
Dunston accepted the plea deal;
however, he has scheduled Roberts’ sentencing to September 19 at 11:00 a.m. as
he awaits a pre-sentence report.
Roberts was arrested Dec. 15,
2015 on a warrant signed by V.I. Superior Court Judge Kathleen Mackay. His bail
was set at $1 million.
According to the affidavit of
police detective, Dwight Griffith, Hendrickson was standing outside the
nightclub talking with Mathis and Fredericks when a silver jeep drove up to the
area and stopped at a nearby stoplight.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that
a man pointed a black handgun in the direction of Hendrickson, Mathis and
Fredericks and began shooting at them. Mathis,
who sustained a gun injury to his right ankle, sought refuge behind a wall,
while Fredericks ran towards the direction of the Department of Labor,
according to Griffith.
When emergency medical
technicians arrived on the scene, they found Hendrickson lying on the ground.
She was unresponsive. Mathis and Fredericks were taken to Schneider Hospital to
receive treatment for their wounds. An autopsy conducted on Nov. 7, 2015
revealed that Hendrickson died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds she
received. During the course of the investigation, Mathis and Fredericks were
able to positively identify Roberts as the shooter, Griffith wrote.