By Kenton X. Chance
Accused murderer Veron Primus was on Wednesday indicted in New York in the 2006 murder of 16-year-old Chanel Petro-Nixon, bringing to two the number of murder charges he now faces.
The indictment comes as the 29-year-old unemployed Vermont man, who grew up in New York, awaits the July 18 preliminary hearing in the murder of 33-year-old real estate agent, Sharleen Greaves in his home country, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Greaves, a resident of Calliaqua, was found dead at her office in Arnos Vale on Nov. 13, 2015.
She had multiple stab wounds and police said she died between Nov. 12 and 13, 2015.
Greaves was killed months after Primus was deported from the United States, where he served jail time for violating a court order.
Police in SVG were able to crack the Greaves murder case as they investigated Primus’ alleged abduction of Vermont woman, Miwanah Hadaway, a crime with which he has also been charged.
Hadaway said that Primus kept her hostage for almost four months on the ground floor of a house where he lived in Vermont.
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced the indictment in New York at a press conference on Wednesday.
At that media briefing, the New York Police Department also said that information from authorities in SVG, ultimately led to police in New York charging Primus with Petro-Nixon’s murder, a case in which the chief detective said investigators saw “true evil”.
On June 18, 2006, Father’s Day, Petro-Nixon left her home and decided to walk to a nearby Applebee’s restaurant to fill out a job application.
U.S. media reports said she was supposed to have met with Primus that day.
She was not seen or heard from for the next four days. Later, her body was discovered in a trash bag in front of 212 Kingston Avenue. It was determined that Petro-Nixon had been strangled.
Primus was the main person of interest in Petro-Nixon’s death but police in New York was unable to amass enough evidence to charge him.
Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference, NYPD Chief of Detectives, Robert Boyce noted that Primus had no prior arrests before Petro-Nixon’s murder.
He, however, said that with every subsequent arrest of Primus, detectives developed more and more of the case but never reached where they needed to in order to lay a charge.
“It’s not until we had the call from St. Vincent and we went down there we got that key piece of evidence to move forward where are today,” Boyce told the media, even as he noted that the case is not yet over.
“We are going to get more and more evidence as we move forward…” he said.
Thompson announced the indictment at the press conference and said prosecutors and the NYPD have worked tirelessly to ensure that the case is solved.
“Finally, ten years after Chanel was murdered, we are able to move this case forward to prosecution,” Thompson said.
He noted that Primus was deported to SVG in 2015 for reasons unrelated to the Petro-Nixon case.
“It is important for us that we that we bring Primus back to Brooklyn to face justice,” he said.
The district attorney noted that detectives from New York came to SVG to speak with local authorities.
“We are willing to go beyond the borders of Brooklyn to hold anyone responsible who commit crimes in our community. Now we are committed to get justice for Chanel in Brooklyn. This defendant has been indicted for murder in the second degree and we intend to hold him accountable for Chanel’s death.”
Thompson said the process for an international extradition is lengthy and complex, but officials have already begun to take steps to return Primus to Brooklyn “where he belongs”.
His office will work with other U.S. agencies, including the State Department, to secure Primus’ return, Thompson said, and urged anyone with information about Petro-Nixon’s death to come forward.
The indictment come just three days shy of the 10th anniversary of the last time Petro-Nixon’s family last saw her alive.
Her mother, Lucita Nixon, speaking at Wednesday’s press conference, said it was “a bitter-sweet day for everybody”.
“Finally, we could see a light at the end of the tunnel. It took 10 years,” she said, adding that it was her faith in Jesus Christ that convinced her that Petro-Nixon would get justice very soon.
“Again, I want to emphasise that there is somebody here in Brooklyn that knows something and I’m urging them, I am praying that they would come out and say something. Somebody knows something.”
Public advocate Ladesa James noted the advocacy surrounding the case over the last decade.
“We marched for 10 years so that individuals would never forget Chanel and this case would never close,” she said at the press conference, even as she noted that the case is not over
“In order to wrap up this case, we need witnesses. In order to bring a conviction, not just an indictment, we need witnesses,” she said and asked persons with information to contact the relevant authorities.
“Please step up. Now is the time to finally bring closure to this case so that Chanel can rest in peace.”
Meanwhile, Thompson said the investigation into Petro-Nixon’s murder took investigators to other countries besides SVG.
“So we are now committed to bring this man back to Brooklyn to hold him accountable. So I am not going to go into what’s been happening in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Today, we are here to indict this man for murder and now our prayer has to be to bring him back and to convict him for killing this beautiful woman.”
He said the relevant U.S. agencies have already had discussions to begin the process of extraditing Primus.
“I can’t stand her and tell you he is going to be here in a month but we are now taking the steps to get the ball rolling to bring him back to Brooklyn,” he said.
The district attorney said that police will also re-examine all relevant cases from 2006 to when Primus was deported.
“Other families may have suffered from this man. I don’t want to go too far into what evidence we collected, but we collected a lot, we need more,” Thompson said.
iWitness News was unsuccessful in repeated efforts to contact several government offices and agencies in SVG for comment.
Repeated calls to the directory listings for the Ministry of National Security went unanswered.
The Attorney General’s Chambers said she was unavailable to take a call.
Commissioner of Police Michael Charles told iWitness News that he was in a meeting and promised to return the call after.
Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams was driving when we called his mobile phone, and therefore unable to speak to us.
We will bring the reaction of the various state agencies when they become available.