April 8, 2004 – The retrial of a St. Croix man has ended with a guilty verdict on three weapons charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced on Thursday.
A District Court jury on St. Croix convicted Phinehas Weekes on Wednesday of discharging a firearm in a school zone and possessing a weapon during a crime of violence, both federal offenses; and unauthorized possession of a firearm, a territorial crime.
Weekes originally was tried in January and found not guilty of attempted murder. The jury was hung, however, on the three weapons charges.
The charges stem from an August 1999 auto accident, according to a release from the U.S. Justice Department. A vehicle driven by a motorist who was not identified struck Weekes' parked car in front of his Ralph De Chabert Housing Community residence. The man offered to pay for the damages but Weekes responded with a barrage of gunfire, the release stated. As the man fled in his truck, he was hit in the head by one of the bullets.
The man survived.
Weekes was indicted on Dec. 15, 1999, but had left the territory. A warrant was issued and he was arrested during a traffic stop in New Orleans in June 2002. He has been in custody in the Virgin Islands since being transported to the territory from Louisiana.
Possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime carries a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison; discharging a gun in a school zone carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; and unauthorized possession carries a maximum term of three years.
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