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HomeNewsArchivesFontaine Facing First-Degree Murder Charge; Bail Set at $200,000

Fontaine Facing First-Degree Murder Charge; Bail Set at $200,000

Arrested in late August for his alleged involvement in a string of crimes, including an armed robbery in Estate Anna’s Retreat and a shootout near E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary School, 21-year-old Ritchie Fontaine was back in court again Thursday — this time appearing on first-degree murder charges.
Fontaine, who was already in jail and awaiting trial on the other offenses, was arrested again Wednesday based on a warrant issued by V.I. Magistrate Judge Alan Smith, who also presided over Fontaine’s advice of rights hearing early Thursday morning.
This time around, Fontaine is charged with gunning down Phillip John George near the Lexus Night Club in Smith Bay during the early morning hours of March 7. Along with George’s body, police arriving at the scene found two male victims that appeared to have been injured in an exchange of gunfire.
With his hands and feet both in shackles, Fontaine was led into the courtroom Thursday and took a seat next to Jeffery Carty Jr., who was also arrested Wednesday in connection with the March 7 shooting.
Details provided by both defense and prosecuting attorneys about the incident were scarce, and Smith was asked to seal both Fontaine’s and Carty’s files until an investigation on two other potential co-defendants is complete.
While Assistant Attorney General Ed Veronda did not make an attempt to detain Fontaine pending trial, he did recommended that Fontaine’s bail be increased from the $75,000 set at the time of his arrest to $200,000.
Noting that Fontaine has "multiple" other offenses pending against him, Smith agreed with the recommendation and said that should Fontaine be able to post the $200,000, he will be placed on house arrest and will have to wear an electric monitoring device.
The judge also appointed John W. Stryker as Fontaine’s attorney.
The government’s recommendation of a $75,000 bail for Carty was opposed by defense attorney Kele Onyejekwe, who said his client was a first offender that appeared, in this case, to be "on the other side of the conflict."
"He was being shot at and appeared to be defending himself," Onyejekwe said. "The charges here are not as outrageous as they appear to be at first glance."
Smith — who said the seriousness of the charges did warrant "some sort of bail" — released Carty on a $25,000 unsecured bond into the custody of both his parents, who appeared at the hearing Thursday and promised that they would ensure their son doesn’t violate the conditions of his release, which also includes a 10:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew.
Overtaken by deep sobs as she stood before the judge, Carty’s mother said she would also make sure her son makes it on time to his court hearings.
"The court’s concern is the facts and circumstances surrounding the events that led to Mr. Carty’s arrest, and the tendency for retaliatory actions to be taken when there are these kind of turf wars and battles going on," the judge said before setting Carty’s bail.

Both Carty and Fontaine will be arraigned Nov. 5 at 9 a.m.

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