June 3, 2009 — Accused V.I. police officer Jerome Blyden was silent as his lawyer entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment Wednesday.
Dressed in a tan prison jumpsuit, with several family members there to support him, Blydens court appearance was brief.
The day before, U.S. Magistrate Judge Geoffrey Barnard ordered that Blyden stay behind bars until his criminal trial is over (See "Blyden to Stay Behind Bars Through Trial.")
The now-suspended officer is facing charges of racketeering, attempted murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking crime and assault with a dangerous weapon.
He was arrested in May.
U.S. Attorney Kim Lindquist expressed his approval of the judges decision after Wednesdays hearing.
Under the circumstances, we feel that is the appropriate action, he said.
On May 22, at Blydens detention hearing, Lindquist painted the troubled officer as a danger to the community and a threat to potential witnesses (See "Judge Hears Testimony on Blyden Detention.") He brought out former V.I. Police Department Director of Internal Affairs Ray Martinez to help flesh out his case. During his tenure, Martinez had compiled a detailed document containing all the complaints lodged against Blyden.
Blydens defense brought out his mother and union supervisor Lt. Joseph Gumbs to plead his case.
Also facing charges is Gelean Mark, the other half of a duo federal officials say is responsible for cocaine trafficking, illegal dog-fighting and other crimes. Mark is currently being held for two separate federal drug cases.
If convicted, Mark and Blyden each face a statutory maximum of life imprisonment and $250,000 in fines.
Barnard set Blydens trial to begin on July 20.
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