As of press time, a seven-woman and five-man jury in V.I. Superior Court was still deciding the fate of Michael Abraham, of St. John, who was facing first-degree murder, first-degree assault and weapons charges.
Abraham, 22, was charged with killing 21-year-old Alston Smith on November 29, 2007, in Estate Pine Peace. Smith was shot once in the head and once in the side of his body.
In the three-day trial before V.I. Superior Court Judge Michael Dunston last week, prosecutors alleged Abraham and Smith got into a confrontation shortly before the shooting, according to published reports.
While none of the prosecution’s witnesses actually saw the shooting, several people testified to seeing Abraham driving away from the area after hearing gunshots, according to reports in the V.I. Daily News.
After the shooting, Abraham told his mother what happened and the two went to the Leander Jurgen Command where the young man confessed to the killing to V.I. Police Department Sergeant Angelo Hill. Despite his confession, prosecutors continued to investigate the case and didn’t arrest Abraham until January 2008.
On the third day of the trial, Abraham took the stand and testified that he shot Smith, who also had a gun, in self-defense, according to reports.
“I was focusing on his gun pointing towards me,” Abraham was quoted in the Daily News.
The Pine Peace man alleged that he and Smith were struggling when his gun went off, but he did not remember pulling the trigger, according to the report.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Abraham will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.