Cockayne Murder Suspect Held on $25,000 Surety Bond in Witness Tampering Charge

Kamal Thomas


Eighteen-year-old Kamal “Six Pack” Thomas, the Gift Hill resident charged with the June 19 murder of 21-year-old Jamie Cockayne, was ordered at a Monday, August 6, hearing before V.I. Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall to be jailed on a $25,000 surety bond on charges that he intimidated a witness to the murder.

  Bail was not set for Thomas in the charges of first degree murder, first degree assault and the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime of violence. Kendall instead gave defense attorney Samuel Joseph three days to respond to a motion filed by Assistant Attorney General Renee Gumbs-Carty requesting a pretrial detention hearing in an effort to keep Thomas in jail until his trial.

Throughout the hearing, Thomas, wearing a wrinkled bright orange Department of Corrections uniform, continually fidgeted and moved erratically. Thomas interrupted Kendall several times during questioning, raising his hand and asking questions, until Kendall advised him to consult with his attorney before speaking.

Under questioning by Kendall, Thomas revealed that he is a native of Georgia who lived on Tortola until last year, when he moved to St. John to live with his uncle, Michael Powell, on Gift Hill. The 18-year-old said he has no children, has an eighth grade education, and works as a fisherman.

Thomas admitted to being charged with a crime as a minor in Tortola, but did not elaborate on those charges.

Kendall considered Thomas a flight risk due to the murder suspect’s minimal ties to the community, and ordered him held on a $25,000 surety bond in the witness tampering charge. The surety bond requires that property in twice the amount, $50,000, be posted in order for the suspect to be released.

Should Thomas be released on bail, Kendall ordered him to follow all laws, stay within the territory, and not possess or use any dangerous weapons, alcohol or controlled substances. Thomas would also be required to avoid contact with the witness in the case and to report to the probation office twice a week.

The witness intimidation charge stemmed from an incident on July 31, when a witness to the murder of Jamie Cockayne was allegedly threatened by Thomas. The witness was in Cruz Bay between FirstBank and Subway, when he heard someone yell out, “I’ll f**k you up too,” according to the affidavit. The witness turned and saw a man he identified as “Six Pack,” who repeated the threat several times.

The Cockayne family, who attended the August 6 hearing, noted Kendall’s history of leniency in setting bail.

“I think the ruling was very lenient,” said Jamie Cockayne’s brother Jeff Cockayne. “He doesn’t deserve bail. He didn’t seem remorseful, dancing during the whole thing.”

Jamie Cockayne’s father, Bill Cockayne expressed his desire for the case to be prosecuted federally.

“We want the case to be prosecuted by federal authorities, but we don’t have a large hope that will happen,” said Bill Cockayne. “This is just the first step of a long process. We will not be satisfied until all the people involved are apprehended.”