(U.S. Virgin Islands)- Acting V.I. Attorney General Carol Thomas-Jacobs has announced that a Superior Court jury found 44-year-old Oral Christopher Smith guilty of murder after an assault in 2018 that left 35-year-old Regina L. Powell dead.
The trial began on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, in V.I. Superior Court on St. Thomas. On January 25, 2023, the defendant was found guilty of Second Degree Murder and First Degree Assault- Domestic Violence.
The prosecution team was comprised of the Virgin Islands Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly Riley, Anna Scott, and John Barraco.
The Prosecution proved to the jury that on or about August 24-25 the defendant, Smith, willfully, deliberately and unlawfully kill Powell by bludgeoning her head with an unknown object, causing her death.
According to court documents, on that fateful day, detectives found Powell dead on the living room floor of the Estate Lerkenlund apartment that the couple shared. A witness told detectives that loud voices were heard coming from the victim’s apartment the evening of August 24th, recognized as Smith and his girlfriend. The witness also stated that around 4 am on August 25, Smith knocked on his/her door for assistance. Smith then made a statement to the witness indicating that after he arrived home from work on the evening of August 24, he went to sleep and awoke hours later to discover Powell unconscious on the floor and one thousand dollars ($1,000) cash missing.
The witness then followed Smith to his apartment and found Powell lying unconscious on the floor. The witness called 911 after he/she was unable to locate a pulse and found Powell’s neck stiff and skin cold.
The Medical Examiner determined Powell had sustained blunt force trauma to her head and multiple bruises to her arms and back. Officers on the scene on Aug. 25th stated that they observed signs of a struggle in the home including shattered glass and blood on a nearby pillow.
Smith was arrested 4 days after the 2018 murder by a warrant and had been jailed awaiting trial ever since.
Smith faces 20 years maximum for the First-Degree Assault- Domestic Violence charge and, for the Second-Degree Murder conviction, there is no maximum sentence.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2023
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