Home News Local news Homicide, Arson Suspected After Early Morning Fire

Homicide, Arson Suspected After Early Morning Fire


Oct. 29, 2005 – Police and Fire Service departments are investigating a suspected homicide and arson early Saturday that left a St. John man dead and his son seriously injured.
Police have not yet released the man's name, but numerous friends around St. John said he was David Geiger. His son is Nathan Geiger, an 8th grade student at the St. John School on Gifft Hill.
Police Sgt. Thomas Hannah said firefighters found a male in the bedroom with his body burned beyond recognition.
"His arm was raised in a defensive manner. This led us to believe something criminal in nature might have happened," he said.
He said that police have not identified any suspects so far.
Deputy Police Chief Brian Chapman said that neighbors who lived in a downstairs apartment kicked the door in when they discovered the upstairs apartment on fire.
He said they were able to get Geiger's son out and then tried to put out the fire.
Hannah described Nathan Geiger's injuries as multiple lacerations.
The Geigers lived in a three-story building in Grunwald owned by Geiger.
Geiger was a housepainter who was active in the sailing community. He often won in his class at the annual Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regatta aboard his Bristol 27 named Willful.
"He was just a sweet guy to have in the boating community," St. John boater Denise Wright said.
Geiger was free with his praise for other sailors. He told this reporter after the 2002 regatta how impressed with he was with another sailor's boat and crew.
"Your boat always amazes me," Geiger said of Dan Davis' Frodo.
Geiger was also a runner and swimmer who often participated in St. John events. His relay team placed second in September's Love City Triathlon.
Jude Woodcock, who is also active in the island's running community, said she tried to convince Geiger to join the running group called the St. John Landsharks.
"He told me he was 'not the kind of guy to join things,'" she said.
She said she often ran into Geiger at Baked in the Sun bakery, where he'd give her a kiss and a hug.
"He made my day," she said.
Wright said she was at a loss to understand why this happened to Geiger.
"I can only think that it was a random act," she said.
As news of the suspected murder and arson circulated around St. John, stunned residents expressed their shock.
The island has not experienced any homicides since 1999 when Keshaun Daly, 14, of St. Thomas died after being shot in the face at the July 4th Celebration village.
In 1997, three men were arrested in connection with the murder of Santo Elloy Villar at Cap's Place, a Cruz Bay bar. That same year, Gordon "Nevo" Doway stabbed his female companion, Marceline V. Corporan, to death before setting their house on fire. He died in the fire.
In 1995, Ralph Foy's body was found wrapped in plastic over the edge of the Brown Bay overlook. No one was arrested in that case.
In 1993, Daniel Ezekiel died of gunshot wounds during a burglary at a Susannaberg home. That same year, the body of Peter Smith, whose real name was Patrick McGeary, was found dressed in women's clothes behind Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant.
Albert Willis called the latest incident sad.
"It's terrible when it happens anywhere. We're not immune to it," he said.
Lorelei Monsanto said she hopes that this incident doesn't exacerbate the racial tensions that currently exist on St. John as a result of the alleged rape of Esther Frett, a black woman.
The Geigers are white.
Hannah stressed that "all indications are that this is an isolated situation."
Monsanto called on the St. John community to unite rather than further divide in the wake of this recent incident.
"We have always been a family unit," she said.
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