Archive for Crime

Big Kahuna

Jingle Bells = Burglaries

Just read in the Daily News that there have been a rash of burglaries over the last 10 days, 45 to be exact.

Not sure if it’s that time of the year, unemployment or just normal BS but whatever the case use extra care securing your house.

Remember to lock all your doors and windows and set your house alarms if you have them.

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Big Kahuna

St. Thomas Loses Another Great Person To Murder

Last night someone we knew was murdered in cold blood. His name is Sean O’Connell, husband of local artist Lucinda O’Connell. We knew both of them fairly well and Lucinda was an advertiser on our blog for a while.

I can’t tell you the pain both Nicci and I feel today to learn of his murder.

Here’s what we’ve heard but is still unconfirmed. There’s speculation that whomever shot Sean thought he was a witness in the murder trial that just finished as a hung jury. We don’t believe he was a witness but we’re unsure of that.

From what we’ve heard Sean was following behind Lucinda in separate cars and the shooter(s) opened fire on him flipping his car.

Today we feel such sorrow for Lucinda. Sean was a good man. This is yet another tragedy.

Rest in peace Sean and our deepest condolences to Lucinda.

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Big Kahuna

20-60 Shots Fired In St. Thomas This Morning?!

We are hearing disturbing news of shots fired in town around 4:15am? I’m hearing everything from 20-60 rounds being fired off? Does anyone have any information on this?

I have 3 separate confirmations to the sound of gun fire but no confirmations on whether it was kids firing into the sky or that someone was actually shot.

If anyone knows anything further please comment in.

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Big Kahuna

Governor John P. de Jongh Jr. Responds…

I received an email tonight from the Governor. Here is the response in it’s entirety to the Tim Metzger murder and my article:

 Dear concerned citizen, 

I am sending this letter to all who have expressed concern over recent crime incidents in the Territory, especially regarding the tragic and unfortunate death of Tim Metzger.

Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns about public safety in the Virgin Islands; concerns brought on during a difficult time in our community. I recognize the heartache experienced by those who have lost a loved one, and the senselessness of violent crime weighs heavily on us all. As Governor, I want to assure you that we are taking every possible step to curtail the criminal element in our islands, which includes apprehending those responsible, and bringing them to justice.

During the past year, we have implemented measures to make sure our police officers are more visible and more accessible, and we continue to strengthen and develop our police force by recruiting more officers and broadening their training.

We are beginning to see results in the form of higher clearance rates in homicides. Police are reacting more quickly to information they receive, and anti-crime measures like saturated patrols, roadblocks and aggressive, targeted enforcement are showing signs of success. We are confiscating more guns than ever before, and continue working with federal law enforcement partners to reduce the number of guns in our territory. More importantly, we are committed to investing in our children and working with families to attack the social ills that contributed to the crime and violence we are challenged with today.

Still, none of these measures will bring back a loved one, or ease the pain and suffering caused by such destructive acts. I ask you to remember that our Virgin Islands are a place full of people of high moral character, solid citizenship and good spirit. For the vast majority of our citizens these crimes are shocking and reprehensible. I implore you, just as I implore our community at large, not to lose faith in this Territory’s bright prospects for a more harmonious and peaceful future. The people of the Virgin Islands are forming a united front against the small, but violent, criminal element that affects these islands and detracts from the quality of all our lives.

It is often a personal challenge for me to strike an appropriate position between outrage and resilience, as we’ve witnessed the violence perpetrated in our community by a few. Nevertheless, my Administration continues to do everything in its power to protect the innocent from those who value nothing of consequence, and we will not waver in our responsibilities to bring every criminal to justice. Our efforts are made even stronger through the unity and power of our people who stand up to this criminal element. Together, we will continue working to preserve the peace, beauty, and tranquility of these islands and I assure you, this indeed is happening.

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me to share your concerns. Be assured, they echo my own, and every member of my Administration fully appreciates the importance of being proactive and effective in our response. 

Sincerely, 

John P. de Jongh Jr.

Governor

Well at least he responded, that’s a step in the right direction so What do you say St. Thomas?

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Big Kahuna

The 7th Murder In 22 Days

Breaking News: Just after I posted this story below I found out there was another murder today in St. Croix making the number 8 murders in 24 days. This is really hard to imagine :(

A few days ago I, like many people who have had enough wrote on Governor John P. deJongh, Jr’s. Facebook Wall concerning the murder rate in the USVI for 2011.

He never responded to a single person.

This is what I wrote on Saturday January 22nd 2011 at 8:30am:

“The Governor and Police remain silent on this murder as they always do. They want to sweep this under the rug and hope that over time you’ll forget it. 6 murders in 20 days and according to my calculations if things persist there should be another murder today. The Governor promised to be tough on crime, it is and will always be another political lie. They are doing nothing to be proactive on crime here, it’s disgusting. Spread the word about it, tell your friends. Use facebook and twitter and keep the pressure on the Governor.

I’m sad to say there indeed WAS another shooting death in St. Croix on Saturday. Click here for the details: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/driver-fatally-shot-on-road-1.1094459

That makes 7 in 22 days. Do the math.

Call or write to the Governor here:

St. Thomas & Water Island
21-22 Kongens Gade
Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas, VI 00802

Tel: 340-774-0001
Fax: 340-774-1361

Better yet, hit him up on his Facebook page here:http://www.facebook.com/governordejongh

Or his Twitter Account here: http://twitter.com/governordejongh

And for those of you who think I’m being to tough and that I’m “hurting” St. Thomas by telling the truth…comment in.

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Big Kahuna

Are You Mad Enough Yet?

When Governor John P. deJongh ran again and was recently re-elected he talked about crime and his master plan. During his 2 terms crime has risen dramatically, fact. 

Forget having the highest murder rate in the country; if the U.S. Virgin Islands were an independent nation, it would have one of the highest murder rates in the world. The record 66 homicides committed across the territory in 2010 is 10 more than in 2009, and makes the Virgin Islands is the most violent place in the United States, on a per-capita basis.

Read more about this here: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/homicides-in-v-i-1.1089794

Nice. Great job on the crime promise Governor John P. deJongh. America’s paradise is really America’s murderland. Only you don’t have to wait in long lines to be whacked, they just wait for you at your house.

On Wednesday night two local restaurant people who work for the Big Kahuna were ambushed at their home, mugged, beaten and one was shot to death. So now the bad guys are waiting for you to get home. Nice.

Are you mad enough yet?

We’ve had 6 MURDERS in 20 days. Do the math people, that’s over 1 murder every 3 days.

I spoke with 6, count them 6 restaurant owners yesterday who are ALL applying to carry a gun for protection. Why you ask? Because the damn criminals all have them. And they’re willing to kill you for pocket change. That’s why Tim Metzger was killed, and the thugs didn’t even get a penny from him.

Are you mad enough yet?

Call or write to the Governor and scream at the top of your lungs that you’ve had enough:

St. Thomas & Water Island
21-22 Kongens Gade
Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas, VI 00802

Tel: 340-774-0001
Fax: 340-774-1361

Better yet, hit him up on his Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/governordejongh

Or his Twitter Account here: http://twitter.com/governordejongh

Here are a few simple steps the police could do today to get guns off the street (I’m sure some liberals won’t like these tactics very much):

1. Stop and Frisk Law: The New York Police Department uses this tactic as a measure to reduce crime and get weapons off the street. If you look like a thug, act like a thug then the police can search you without cause. Imagine the guns, drugs, knives etc that could be taken off the streets by this simple method.

Think about the police department being able to search anyone that appears to be a criminal? You say it violates your rights? I say search me up and down because I have nothing to hide. If it gets these murderers off the streets I say jump into the deep end.

And unlike New York we won’t have a racism issue here as a majority of the police and residents are West Indian. And if Whites, Hispanics, Asians etc. are searched more often than West Indians so be it. It’s a price I’m willing to pay for safety.

I know they’ll be plenty of folks who disagree with a stop and frisk program because you’ll say it violates your rights and that’s fine. You’re entitled to your opinion like I am mine. But, what’s your solution? Education? Yea, that’s worked? More social programs? Sorry, failure. Comment in if you dislike stop and frisk and provide a solution, we want to hear it :)

2. Broken Windows Theory: is a criminological theory of the normsetting and signalling effects of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior. The theory states that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition may prevent further vandalism as well as an escalation into more serious crime.

Mayor Giuliani of New York had the police more strictly enforce the law against subway fare evasion, public drinking, urination, and the “squeegee men” who had been wiping windshields of stopped cars and demanding payment. According to the 2001 study of crime trends in New York by George Kelling and William Sousa,  rates of both petty and serious crime fell suddenly and significantly, and continued to drop for the following ten years.

Again, there will be those that disagree but was New York cleaned up by Mayor Giuliani? The answer is a big YES.

Personally I’ve had enough of talk of education , social programs, parenting classes etc. etc. etc. They obviously are not working. Now’s the time to break out the damn militia and get a movement of law and order going. Now’s the time to get tough and stop putting up with this shit as “normal” behavior.

I spoke with 4 long time residents yesterday and they all said the stalking and “casing” by criminals has been going on here for many years. They weren’t at all surprised at this. Really, is that where we’re at? It doesn’t phase us when people are cased, ambushed and killed? Damn man, are you mad enough yet?

You don’t like my simple solutions? What do you have?

I’m pretty friggin’ mad.

If you like this article copy and paste the URL link (http://www.stthomasblog.com/?p=6936) into your Facebook status, Twitter account or the Governors Facebook and Twitter account. Spread the word that we’ve had enough.

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Big Kahuna

Another Senseless and Tragic Murder In St. Thomas

*****UPDATE*****

I have confirmed from a reliable source that Tim was being dropped off by the owner of the Big Kahuna when two men approached the car on each side wearing ski masks (it is not known if they were there waiting or if they followed them).

Fights incurred on both sides of the vehicle, the owner fought off one assailant who ran away the other had a gun and shot Tim numerous times. The incident happened between 10pm-11pm. Assumptions are that the murderers were there to rob them but who knows.

______________________________________________________________________

We woke up this morning to news of a ridiculously mindless and scary tragedy that happened on St. Thomas during the night; an employee of the Big Kahuna in town was allegedly followed home or he interupted his house being robbed and was shot and killed. This is all the information we’ve heard and if you know of anything different please comment in.

RIP Tim, manager of Big Kahuna…

Yes, I realize there is violence all the time on this island, but this strikes a different chord. This is a scary day. 

Our heart felt condolences go out to Tim’s family, he did not deserve this.

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Big Kahuna

Drinking and Driving In St. Thomas

The Virgin Islands Police Department is once again targeting impaired drivers on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John during the National Enforcement Crackdown on Impaired Driving Campaign.

Police Commissioner Novelle E. Francis Jr announced the campaign which begins today through Labor Day September 6. The goal of this campaign is to save lives by preventing traffic fatalities and impaired driving. “If you get caught driving while impaired, you will be arrested. No exceptions.”

Police officers will be out in record numbers to help keep the roadways safe.

And they are out especially in Red Hook so keep that in mind.

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Big Kahuna

An Open letter From Jeanie Cockayne

We’d like to welcome guest blogger Jeanie Cockayne. Jeanie’s son was murdered in St. John a few years back and she has requested an open forum here on the St. Thomas Blog. The writing and opinions are those of Jeanie Cockayne and not the opinions or views of the St. Thomas Blog.

We are writing this letter to formally support Assistant Attorney General Claude Walker’s recent motion to seek Judge Brenda Hollar’s recusal from a potential third trial for Jahlil Ward, our son Jamie’s alleged/convicted killer.

There are specific points that we would like to address to support our position. Prosecution witness, Daryl Martens. Judge Hollar made the statement in open court that Daryl Martens received “payoffs” from our family in exchange for his testimony. The facts: Daryl Martens contacted us shortly after being discharged from a Correctional facility on St Thomas with information that was important to this case (We did not, under any circumstances, seek him out as the court has suggested.) We immediately attempted to share his contact information with the prosecutor Renee Gumbs-Carty but, we were unable to reach her. Our Lawyer Sean Summers then contacted SA. Schmidt of the F.B.I. and relayed the information we had received. In the meantime, Mr. Martens continued to call me collect and begged for a calling card or phone so he could contact us. He also asked if we could help him with a place to stay he was frightened, helpless and had nowhere to go. Our goal at that point was to keep him available to speak to the authorities. He made a promise to reimburse us once his parents, who were abroad at the time, returned to California.

In July 2007, we were beside ourselves with grief our child, brother; friend had been cut down on the streets of Cruz Bay. I was an easy mark if in fact Martens was trying to take advantage of our family. We were unable to get anyone – including the F.B.I. – to take his statement. Therefore, we asked Iris Kern if she would try to help facilitate a meeting between Gumbs-Carty and Martens. Unable at the time to arrange that meeting I requested Iris Kern to speak to him herself. It took a few days to set up a meeting during which we continued to give Mr. Martens shelter at a local motel. These details are important because Judge Hollar referred to what we did as “payoffs” not only in open court but in local newspapers and in public records. Additionally, we were tired of being forced to pay for this mans room and phone. We did what we thought we had to do in order for someone of authority take his statement. This gentleman was in his late thirties with no job, no place to live and apparently no friends. We believed he was trying to do the right thing and we believed him when he said he would pay us back. Ms. Kern did speak to him and afterward she was able to make arrangements for a meeting between Gumbs-Carty and Martens, I do not remember how long it was before Martens finally gave his statement to Gumbs-Carty. As soon as he did I broke off all contact, it was my belief if the Government believed his statement they would take care and be sure he was safe.

Reward for Tips Leading to a Conviction in the Case: This was another matter that Judge Hollar demonstrated a clear bias which undoubtedly influenced the case. Shortly after our son’s murder, we asked Police Commissioner James McCall for permission to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for this heinous crime. Commissioner McCall told us we had to get approval from the Attorney General’s Office, which he agreed to contact on our behalf. Commission McCall contacted our attorney Sean Summers and gave approval for us to post the $10,000 reward. McCall also gave us the phone number for tipsters to call, which he referred to in the online paper, “The Source” on July 4, 2007. He reported that the Cockayne family had offered a $10,000 award and he was pleased we were working with the police. Wish I could think of appropriate words to describe the pain Judge Hollar’s words have caused us. We have no recourse, in court; judges can say anything they like. I take exception to the unsubstantiated slurs about us made in front of the jury and then subsequently printed in newspapers. We offered the award way back in 2007 shortly after Jamie’s death.

We were convinced someone knew who killed Jamie, or at least had some information that would help locate the killers. We hoped someone would come forward. We also understood the danger witnesses could be placing themselves. The two recipients of the award gave their statements to the police and / or the F.B.I. before the award was posted. Mr. Ferguson gave a statement the night of the murder and then fled the island for fear of retaliation. Once we found out his name on our own by asking questions around Cruz Bay we got to work trying to find out if he would talk to the F.B.I. and our investigators. He refused to speak to anyone unless he could have an attorney present and he was in no way able or willing to pay a lawyers fee. The court should understand we were frantic.

Our youngest child had been stabbed to death, I tell you I was not interested in anything but to help find Jamie’s killer. I owed it to Jamie then and I owe it to him now. To suggest we would be happy to have just anyone go to jail to be punished for Jamie’s murder is ridiculous. Our attorney then contacted Ferguson’s attorney and authorized payment for Mr. Ferguson’s attorney. We did not give Mr. Ferguson any cash for clothes that is completely untrue. Mr. Rawlins, although he was the individual who tried to stop Thomas and Boston from going after Jamie and went to the police to report a problem before Jamie was killed, he tried to save Jamie’s life by sending the police to help Jamie, the police never interviewed Rawlins or took a formal statement. They did not ask him any questions about what he saw and heard that night. Within days of Jamie’s killing Mr. Rawlins voluntarily went to the police to give a statement. This information we found out from our private investigators, long after Rawlins had gone to the police.

Now I have to ask, what could possibly be a motive for us to,”pay off” witnesses that had already given their statement? It is a ridiculous assumption for anyone to believe we did anything at all unsavory. The witnesses story never changed it is incredible to even suggest the rewards were anything but above board. Again let me make the point, THEY NEVER CHANGED THEIR STATEMENTS. After, and this is really important, after the first trial and guilty verdicts we decided as a family that although no one appeared to expect the reward we should fulfill our commitment. We thought it was the right thing to do.

As a family we decided on the two witnesses that came forward immediately and tried to help Jamie. The court has repeatedly given the jury and the community the opinion and made it obvious to all, that our behavior was an attempt to control the outcome of a murder trial. Regarding Jahlil Ward: We did receive an anonymous tip during the summer of 2007 that a man by the name of Jahlil Ward was involved in Jamie’s murder and was at the scene of Jamie’s killing. Our attorney gave Ward’s name to F.B.I. agent Schmidt and asked him to look into it. The trial judge or the defense attorney has made mention several times how Ward’s name never came up until Thomas’ investigator dug up his name. Completely incorrect, we had the name, we passed it on. If nothing was done with the information that would not surprise me in the least.

Issues the judge could not reconcile: Judge Hollar discussed evidence entered by witnesses Frazer and Asante Leslie. Frazer said he saw blood on the top of Ward’s sneakers and Leslie said she saw blood on the bottom of his sneakers. This is another example of Judge Hollar’s inability to allow the jury to put 2+2 together and reach the sum of 4. She wonders how both can be correct, easily I say. There was blood everywhere blood poured out of Jamie after being stabbed 8 times. The killer would have had blood on his sneakers top and bottom. Is it at all logical that perhaps Ward had blood on both the top and bottom of his sneakers and not ketchup as Hollar has stated? Is it possible that Frazer happened to be standing next to the car and Ward came running down the hill asking for a ride. Frazer, not wanting to get into a fight with a guy who has a bloody knife in his hand does as he is told? Is it possible he wanted to protect his pride so he told a partial truth? You say the jury made a leap to the wrong conclusion because Frazer said Ward banged on his door and the other 2 eye witnesses saw Ward run to a car just down the street.

The jury did their job to come to their conclusions in a fair, educated reasonable manner. What is not possible is for the police to give us an explanation as to why they refused to pick up the getaway car for months. We still have not received any explanation. The most outrages and contemptible result from the three previous trials is what happened to Jamie and how his murder has taken a back seat in this fiasco. This is no longer about Jamie’s murder or our loss. This is about people not listening when we tried to share information, people not crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s. It is certainly not about Justice. It really is true, victims of crime are murdered or raped by the perpetrator and then by the courts. Every time we have to return for more hearings and more trials Jamie is killed again and again and again.

The visions never leave my mind, my son, my baby boy lying there alone bleeding to death because he had a few bucks in his wallet. Oh how I cry out to Jamie, “Why didn’t you just give them the money?” A quote from the Daily News September 5 2009. “They (the Cockaynes) had the money to pay people off, but not to pay for their trip?” said Judge Hollar. We did not bribe or pay off anyone. Did Mr. Martens take advantage of us when we were in a very fragile state, maybe? Did he fulfill his commitment to pay us back when his parents returned, no. As written in the St. Thomas Source July 4, 2007, “We are receiving a lot of information from the community,” Police Commissioner James McCall said Wednesday, taking a quick break at the July 4th Parade. Cockayne’s family has put up a $10,000.00 reward, he said. In Judge Hollar’s Memorandum Opinion & Order dated July 23, 2010 page 29 Hollar stated, The court concludes that not only was the verdict against the weight of the evidence but, a serious miscarriage of justice will occur if Ward’s conviction stands. As for Judge Hollar inserting herself as thirteenth juror it does appear, she has, in my opinion come to her own conclusions and imposed them upon the jury and this entire community. The criminals are laughing while the innocent are dying in the streets.

Because of Hollar’s repeated public statements to the jury and the community, saying the evidence does not carry enough weight to convict and attempting to disenfranchise prosecution witnesses as well as publishing a public opinion showing a bias we ask Judge Hollar to recuse herself from this trial in the interest of justice. If possible reinstate the jury’s guilty verdict and sentence the guilty.

Respectfully,
The Cockayne Family

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Big Kahuna

Gangs In Paradise – US Virgin Islands – St. Thomas – St. John – St. Croix – Water Island

Like most major cities in the US we have gangs in the US Virgin Islands. Take some time to watch these videos and understand what’s happening here and leave a comment on your feelings.

These videos were not made by the St. Thomas Blog. They were developed by Lambert Media of St. Thomas. The views and content has nothing to do with St. Thomas Blog so please don’t shoot the messenger :)

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