A jury in V.I. Superior Court on St. Croix Friday found three men guilty of the August 2009 killing of 25-year-old Almonzo Williams – two were found guilty of first-degree murder, one of voluntary manslaughter.
After deliberating for more than 10 hours, the jury found 30-year-old Joh Williams and 18-year-old Jalani Williams guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree assault, unauthorized possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, and reckless endangerment. Khareem Hughes, 20, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
The trial, which began Oct. 18, was heard before Presiding Judge Darryl Donohue and was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Tom Sedar and Tonya Saafir. Sedar led the prosecution and contended that the defendants had conspired to commit the murder of Almonzo Williams, which occurred at about 1 a.m. Aug. 2, near Gertrude’s Restaurant on St. Croix where a dance was being held.
Sedar asserted throughout the trial that Almonzo had been killed by a hail of gunfire and that the defendants each had a role in the conspiracy to murder him. Thirteen bullets pierced Almonzo Williams, and 49 mixed spent shell casings were found at the scene – some which tied to a .380-caliber automatic, which was found on Jalani Williams after he fled the scene with Hughes the morning of the murder.
Lester Roberts and Kamal Lewis were also injured the night of the shooting and Roberts was the only of the two to testify during the trial. The jury found both Joh and Jalani Williams guilty of first-degree assault for shooting Roberts, but not guilty of first-degree assault for shooting Lewis.
Hughes, who led police on a wild chase after the murder with Jalani Williams as a passenger, was found not guilty on both counts of first-degree assault, as well as unauthorized possession of a firearm.
Donohue scheduled the sentencing hearing for all three defendants on Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. Joh Williams and Jalani Williams face mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole, and Hughes faces up to 15 years on voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.