On Wednesday evening, March 24, Anselmo Boston and Kamal Thomas were both convicted for a second time of third-degree assault and weapons charges after a two-day trial before V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar.
Thomas alone was also convicted of threatening and intimidating a witness.
The verdict was handed down on Wednesday evening, March 24, after the 12 member jury deliberated for just one and a half hours, according to a report in the Virgin Islands Daily News.
This is the second jury to find Thomas, 20, and Boston, 33, guilty of assaulting James “Jamie” Cockayne the night of June 19, 2007, a half an hour before the young Pennsylvania man was stabbed to death on a Cruz Bay street.
The two defendants were cleared of murder charges after their original trial — which was joined with a third codefendant Jahlil Ward, who was convicted of murder. The two were convicted of assault and weapons charges.
After the first verdict, Thomas and Boston were sentenced in July 2009 to 12 and a half years in prison and slapped with $11,575 in fines and fees. Those sentences, however, were thrown out after it came to light that the Cockayne family had paid cash rewards to witnesses who testified in court.
Hollar ordered both men to stand a new joined trial, separate from Ward, who faced a second jury himself on murder charges in December 2009. Following his second trial, Ward was convicted of second degree murder, but has not yet been sentenced as Hollar considers motions to grant the 20-year-old St. John man a third trial.
In the meantime, Thomas and Boston were not able to convince a second jury of their innocence the night Cockayne was stabbed eight times, including a fatal wound to the femoral artery, outside Fashion Palace in Cruz Bay.
During the second trial, prosecutors Assistants Attorney General Claude Walker and Courtney Reese outlined a series of events on the night of June 18, 2007 which ultimately led to the assault of Cockayne.
When Boston ran into Cockayne at the Front Yard Bar the night of June 18, he was upset because Cockayne had kicked his girlfriend’s Jeep earlier that afternoon, according to prosecutors.
Along with Thomas, Boston got into a fight with Cockayne, which ended with a pool stick being broken over the Pennsylvania man’s head, prosecutors alleged.
Thomas, Boston and Ward then followed Cockayne up the street to the area of Dolphin Market, where they surrounded him and beat him with wooden sticks, prosecutors alleged during the trial.
About a half an hour later, Ward alone followed the Pennsylvania man to the area of Fashion Palace and stabbed him behind a wooden scaffold before fleeing to a friend’s house, according to prosecutors in that case.
Despite Boston taking the stand in his own defense, the 12-member jury believed prosecutors’ version of events and handed down guilty verdicts for both men.
After the convictions were read, Boston — who had been free on $75,000 bail — was remanded into custody, according to a report in the V.I. Daily News.
Unable to post bail, Thomas remained in custody at the Bureau of Corrections on St. Thomas, according to the report.
Hollar has set May 14, as the tentative date for the men’s sentencing — the same day that Jamie Cockayne would have turned 24.