Man accused of jury tampering in 'Lazee' Williams murder trial
Published: January 24, 2014
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ST. CROIX - A 36-year old man remains jailed after being charged with trying to influence a potential juror to acquit five defendants charged in the torture and murder of Police Cpl. Wendell Williams.
Jimmy Davis, of Estate Bellevue his initial court appearance Thursday in V.I. Superior Court's Magistrate Division, where Senior Sitting Judge Darryl Donohue Sr. was filling in for the day, to be advised of his rights on a single count of attempting to corruptly influence a juror.
Assistant Public Defender Nesha Christian-Hendrickson challenged the probable cause fact sheet at the beginning of Davis' hearing, saying that Davis' meant no harm by the statements he made to a woman who was a member of the jury pool in the murder case.
Davis is a witness for the prosecution in the trial of the five defendants and had been waiting in the hall for most of the day during the jury selection process Tuesday and Wednesday.
V.I. Police Detective George Felix said in his affidavit and during his testimony to the court Thursday that he and another detective were outside of the courthouse some time after 4 p.m. Wednesday when they were approached by a woman who was in the jury pool.
Felix said the woman reported that she was in the hallway of the courthouse during one of the breaks in the selection process when Davis called out to her, "Neighbor, you is a juror? Well, if you is a juror, you need to vote for an acquittal."
Felix said the woman told Davis that she was not a juror, because she was afraid and said that she said she knew Davis and did not want anything to do with him.
The woman subsequently was released from jury duty because of an unrelated conflict, and then reported the encounter with Davis, according to Felix.
Felix said the woman was intimidated by Davis although he did not make any threatening comments or gestures towards her.
Assistant Attorney General Cornelius Evans said threats are not needed in order for the charge to stand, because the law includes persons who attempt to threaten, influence or persuade a juror or person summoned as a juror.
Donohue upheld the charges against Davis.
"The Legislature of the territory established the law that anyone who even comes to the court as a potential juror is hands-off," the judge said.
Donohue advised Davis that he could be imprisoned for up to 5 years on the charges and pay a fine of $1,000.
Christian-Hendrickson told the court that while Davis has a significant criminal history - Davis' criminal history includes charges of assault, reckless endangerment, robbery and gun possession - he has only two convictions. She asked the court to release him on an unsecured bond in the amount of bail, which had been set at $10,000.
Evans objected, saying that Davis is a flight risk and a danger to the community based on his blatant attempt to corrupt a juror. He said Davis should be made to post the full amount of the bail before he is released.
Donohue agreed with Evans' arguments, saying that the bond was commensurate with the crime, and Davis must find a suitable third-party custodian and present the bail amount in cash or twice the amount in property to be placed on pre-trial release.
A renewed motion for Davis' release is expected today.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.