Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bahamas: Update--Two Americans Who Killed US Citizen Carl Yerger, 45, Released on Bail

According to The Associated Press, two US citizens charged in the death of another American citizen Carl Yerger, a 45-year-old businessman from Ruscombmanor Township, PA, on the island of Bimini were expected to leave the Bahamas on Wednesday (March 19) after both men posted $35,000 bail for a total of $70,000.

Tyler Valles and Robert Schwartz, members of a sport fishing crew that had briefly called on Bimini, were to be released on $35,000 bail each after agreeing to return to the country for a hearing in May 2014. 

The two defendants were charged earlier this week with manslaughter; neither entered a plea while being arraigned.

Munroe, a prominent criminal defense attorney in the Bahamas, described the men as shocked by their situation that led to the death of Carl Yerger, a 45-year-old businessman from Ruscombmanor Township, PA.

The men were arrested following the discovery Friday of the body of Yerger at a marina and resort on Bimini, that is a sport fishing and diving destination. Asst. Commissioner Emrick Seymour of the Royal Bahamas Police Force had said the men fought when Yerger attempted to board their vessel.

COMMENT: Yerger owned a milling and consulting business in Pennsylvania and was reportedly in Bimini on a business trip.

Munroe said that prosecutors believe Yerger was intoxicated when he attempted to board the other Americans' vessel, and was removed by the captain and Valles, a 19-year-old from Key Largo, FL.

After several attempts by Yerger to board the charter boat, Valles went to get help from the resort's security department. As he left, he picked up a filleting knife off the dock to keep it away from Yerger, Munroe said, citing the prosecution's account.

The attorney said that Yerger "attacked" Valles and that Schwartz, a 62-year-old from Gaylordsville, CT jumped in to help. All three struggled on the ground, at which point Yerger was accidentally stabbed.

At the time, apparently no one had noticed that Yerger had been stabbed and they all thought the incident was over. Now injured, Yerger got up and walked back to the resort and the other two men went back to the boat only to later die from his injuries.

The court set a hearing date for May 19 for the formal presentation of the indictment. Munroe intimated a trial would likely be more than a year off.

Interestingly, as someone who has devoted his life to the prevention of violence abroad, the nagging question is why did:

Messrs. Valles and Schwartz, in a world where everyone carries a cell phone, why did they not call the Bahamian police rather than succumb to stabbing Mr. Yerger?

Both men should be contemplating how they will explain their role in Yerger's death through Mr. Munroe and why a knife was necessary to resolve a disagreement?