Home News Local news Escaped Murderer Captured on St. Croix

Escaped Murderer Captured on St. Croix


March 20, 2008 — Convicted murderer and rapist Jeffrey Warner was picked up by local and federal law-enforcement officials around 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Estate LaGrange area on St. Croix and is being "re-booked" for a transfer back to Golden Grove Correctional Facility.
Warner was last seen at Golden Grove between 6 and 7 p.m. Saturday, but was not present when prison guards did a head count around midnight. Attorney General Vincent Frazer has since said that Warner "slipped through" a chain-link fence surrounding the roof of the prison's recreational area.
Warner appeared to be injured by the barbed wire on the fence, as he was "not in the best condition" when officers found him Thursday, Police Commissioner James H. McCall said.
"He was up in the hills in the LaGrange area, and our agents were able to talk to him and get him to come down," Frazer added in a subsequent telephone interview. He said the area was a few miles from Golden Grove, but the constant press of a joint local and federal manhunt kept Warner from getting too far away.
"We were out there searching, day and night, so he really couldn't move if we were moving," Frazer said. "The prison warden also had his staff out there looking, so Warner also could not move as easily along the major highways."
Frazer said it is not clear at this point whether anyone had been harboring Warner since his escape.
"That's one of the things that we will be looking into as the investigation continues," he said. "But it does appear at this point that no one was harmed by him while he has been out of prison."
Warner, 45, was serving out a life sentence on one count of first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated rape when he escaped. Warner would not have been eligible for parole for about 70 years, Frazer said Thursday.
Now in police custody, Warner will be transferred back to Golden Grove, where he will be under a "stringent" security watch, Frazer added. Meanwhile, Justice will work to make sure all of Warner's court appeals — he was supposed to have been re-sentenced on a second-degree murder charge — are taken care of so Warner can be transferred to a maximum-security prison on the mainland, Frazer said.
"We'll consider whether we're going to be charging him for escaping from prison," Frazer said. "But really, we don't need any other reason to delay having him placed in the maximum-security prison."
While applauding the efforts of local and federal law-enforcement officials for their "hard work" in bringing Warner back to justice, McCall added that the investigation was particularly helped along by a constant stream of information provided by community members.
"We would like to thank the entire community for the assistance they have given us in the investigation," McCall said when contacted Thursday. "We couldn't have done it without them. This was a predator that needed to be taken off the streets as soon as possible, and we got a lot of leads from the community. I would also like to thank the agencies that assisted us, including the VIPD, investigators from the Attorney General's Office, Bureau of Corrections, the U.S. Marshals and agents from Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Bureau."
The VIPD and Department of Justice "have had a lot of sleepless nights" since Warner's escape and "are breathing a sigh of relief" now that he has been recaptured, McCall said.
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