More than 17 years after police found well-known St. Thomas restaurateur Egbert “Manno” Stuart dead in his bedroom, a jury has convicted his wife and her lover of stabbing him to death, prosecutors said Monday.
Viviane Stuart and Jacques Cajuste were convicted of first-degree murder and aiding and abetting on Aug. 11 in Superior Court, prosecutors said. They face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On June 21 and early June 22, 2005, co-workers and secret lovers Cajuste and Viviane Stuart plotted to kill Manno, owner of Manno’s West Indian restaurant near the Fort Christian parking lot. They stabbed the 63-year-old restaurateur to death in their Contant home, leaving him with a large kitchen knife sticking out of his neck, prosecutors said.
Viviane Stuart told police at the time she returned home to find her husband in a pool of blood.
The case sat idle for nearly a decade when cold-case investigators re-opened their examination in 2015. They found Cajuste accounted for a large amount of DNA evidence found at the scene. Cajuste was arrested in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and Viviane Stuart on St. Thomas in 2016. Charges were brought in 2020.
U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Denise George commended the prosecution team, the Virgin Islands Police Department, and the cold-case squad made up of current and former investigators.
“This case required the teamwork of the DOJ with the VIPD and a relentless determination to bring the perpetrators to justice. Much gratitude also to the witnesses who came forward. We want our community to know that just because a case is 17 years old, it doesn’t mean we stop investigating. I truly hope this provides some degree of comfort and closure to Mr. Egbert Stuart’s loved ones,” George said.