Ward charged in prison assault
Published: January 19, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Jahlil Ward, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to the killing of Jamie Cockayne on St. John in 2007, was formally charged in connection with the Nov. 16 stabbing of a fellow inmate at Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility.
Ward, 25, is being charged with third-degree assault and carrying or using a dangerous weapon during the commission of a crime of violence.
An arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 3, but no action was taken until Thursday, when Ward was brought into court.
Ward initially was identified as "Jahleed Ward" in a V.I. Police Department press release on Nov. 20. The long time period between the warrant issued for Ward and his arrest "has to do with either the Corrections Office or the Attorney General's Office," according to V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames.
According to court documents, V.I. Corrections Officer Darren Giddings was escorting a handcuffed inmate to the showers when Ward, brandishing a shank knife, ran towards the inmate. After a brief struggle, Ward was able to knock Giddings to the ground and attack the inmate, stabbing him repeatedly with the shank knife, resulting in wounds to the inmate's arm, torso, back and chest, according to official police reports.
Ward's shank was self-forged from pieces of scrap or discarded metals, and reportedly measured roughly one-foot in length, according to the probable cause fact sheet prepared by Police Sgt. Stephen Brown.
The stabbings were so severe that the inmate who was attacked required surgery, according to Brown. Corrections officers said that they were then able to disarm Ward and return him to his cell.
The arrest marks Ward's third.
He currently is serving a 10-year sentence for the 2007 killing of Jamie Cockayne, 21, who died after being beaten and stabbed by Ward while outside of a bar in St. John. One of Ward's slashes proved to be lethal, puncturing Cockayne's femoral artery.
Facing a third trial, after two previous first-degree murder trials were declared a mistrial, Ward accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years.