Humphrey Balson, a 61-year-old inmate at the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility, was stabbed and killed Thursday afternoon at the prison, and another inmate was arrested and charged with the crime, according to a statement from the acting director of the V.I. Bureau of Corrections.
Basil Richards said that V.I. Police officers arrested inmate Ralph Brathwaite, 45, who is serving a 60-year sentenced for aggravated first-degree rape.
It was the 19th homicide in the territory since the start of the year, the 11th on St. Croix in that time. It was the fifth homicide in 8 days for the island, starting with the murder of 17-year-old Rosalie Figueroa July 3.
According to Richards, the attack took place between the prison kitchen just before the "chute," a walkway that leads to the institution’s vocational shops.
“Several staff witnesses stated that they saw the suspect, inmate Ralph Brathwaite, approach the victim and stab him one time to his upper right chest area," Richards said. "Custody personnel immediately intervened in the altercation and restrained the suspect while others tended to the victim.”
Richards said that Balson was declared dead at about 2:15 p.m. by Juan F. Luis Hospital staff.
Balson was serving a natural life sentence for first degree murder and attempted burglary, according to Richards.
Braithwaite was processed, arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
Richards said the facility was placed on lockdown and is operating within all security guidelines and protocols to safeguard both the prison population and BOC personnel.
On Monday, Golden Grove was placed on lockdown when staff engaged in what Richards called a "coordinated sick-out," leaving the facility understaffed for normal operation. Staff returned to work Tuesday and the prison began returning to normal operation, as Richards said he took steps to address the staff’s concerns and to improve communication.