Pine Peace Man Arrested For Witness Tampering in Cockayne Murder Case


Ryan Meade

V.I. Police Department officials arrested a second St. John resident in the high-profile investigation of the June 19 James Cockayne murder.

Ryan Meade, 31, of Pine Peace, was arrested on Monday evening, August 6, for intimidating a witness to the Cruz Bay murder of 21-year-old Pennsylvania resident Cockayne, a case which has  been covered on national media outlets CNN and Fox News.

The witness reported that Meade threatened him on Tuesday afternoon, July 31, in front of the popular Cruz Bay establishment Woody’s Seafood Saloon, according to the VIPD’s affidavit.

In addition to yelling and cursing at the witness, Meade also reached “toward his front right pocket as if to remove an object,” according to the affidavit.

V.I. Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar signed an  arrest warrant for Meade on Monday, August 6, and set bail at $25,000. At his advice of rights hearing on Tuesday morning, August 7, however, Judge Leon Kendall required only a $10,000 unsecured bond for bail.

The Pine Peace resident is no stranger to the V.I. judicial system, Meade had been arrested a dozen times before his latest foray into witness tampering in the Cockayne murder.

Meade’s criminal history dates back to 1995 and includes arrests for aggravated assault and battery, inciting a riot, resisting arrest, robbery, delaying and obstructing justice and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

This is Meade’s second arrest for witness tampering, he was picked up for that charge for the first time back in October 1996.

Most of the cases against Meade were dismissed without prejudice or resulted in no prosecution. When a conviction was secured, which happened after only three of his arrests, Meade was sentenced to community service and probation with suspended jail sentences.

Meade’s apprehension came three days after Kamal Thomas, 18, of Gift Hill was arrested on Friday evening, August 3, for allegedly murdering Cockayne.

Thomas was charged with first degree murder, first degree assault and use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime of violence.  After his arrest, the Georgia native was also charged with witness tampering.

Kendall ordered a $25,000 surety bond for the witness tampering charge and has not ruled on bail for the murder, assault and weapons charges.
More arrests are expected in the Cockayne murder investigation, as VIPD officials have identified two additional persons of interest.