By JUDI SHIMEL
Associated Press Writer
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) _ A missing lawyer who had recently moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands and became a judge’s clerk was found slain Wednesday along a dirt path in St. Thomas following an apparent robbery. Two people were charged in his death.
Authorities recovered the body of Gabriel Lerner, a clerk for a Superior Court judge in the U.S. island territory, in the rural western part of the island, a day after he was reported missing and four days after he was last seen, Police Commissioner James McCall said.
“We accomplished a lot in a short period of time,” McCall told reporters. “Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”
The police spotted Lerner’s car Tuesday afternoon and started a chase that ended when the car crashed into a police cruiser. The suspects fled into the nearby forest but were captured two hours later by Superior Court marshals, police said.
The two suspects — Devon Frett, 22, and a 17-year-old whose name was not released — were being held on charges that included murder, robbery and kidnapping. They were held without bail.
Lerner, 27, a native of the Milwaukee area, was working as a clerk for Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar. He was last seen alive on Saturday.
Family members said Lerner, a Georgetown University Law School graduate, moved to the St. Thomas in January to take a job with a law firm before becoming a clerk and was sworn into the territory’s bar last week.
“He was offered a job down there … and thought how can you pass up an opportunity to work down in paradise, instead of cold Wisconsin,” said his sister, Arielle Lerner of Milwaukee. “We were all very jealous.”
The family planned to bury him in St. Thomas, she said.
Associated Press writer Carrie Antlfinger contributed to this report from Milwaukee.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.