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Parents of Slain Man Refuse to Blame Entire Community

June 25, 2007 — In an e-mail they asked a friend to send to the Source, Bill and Jeanie Cockayne, parents of slain 21-year-old James Cockayne, said they don't blame the people of St. John for their son's killing. But they ask the community's assistance in "finding Jamie's killer."
They write:
As the parents of James (Jamie) Cockayne, we wanted to contact you to provide information about our beloved son, who was slain in the early morning hours of June 19. There have been inaccurate details reported that we want to correct.
We also felt compelled to reach out to the people of St. John to ask for their assistance in finding Jamie's killer.
Jamie and his mother, Jeanie Cockayne, have been on the island in a rental home since late May.
Jamie was scheduled to begin work at the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda in the coming weeks, and was excited about the prospect of combining his great love of water sports, sailing and working with children. Within the past year, Jamie completed the Professional Mariners Training Program at Chapman's School of Seamanship and had successfully passed his U.S. Coast Guard exam. Most recently, Jamie had attended the U.S. Sailing School in Sarasota, Fla., and received his small boat instructor's certification.
While awaiting the final paperwork needed from the BVI, Jamie and his mother enjoyed the beauty and hospitality of St. John.
It was our plan to purchase a home on the island, and many of Jamie's last days were spent house hunting with his mom. At this juncture, those plans are on hold as we struggle with our great loss.
Jamie was a wonderful boy with an infectious smile and bright, beautiful demeanor. In addition to his parents, (Jamie had a) brother, Jeffrey, and a large extended family.
Jamie had a wide circle of devoted friends back in New Hope, Pa., where we had our permanent residence. All are struggling to deal with the random nature of this violent act, which cut short a life that held so much promise.
Jamie was literally weeks away from starting an exciting new chapter in his life, and it is incomprehensible to all who loved him that he will never get that chance.
We feel compelled to tell the people of St. John that we do not hold any ill feelings towards you or your wonderful island. We love St. John and we refuse to condemn an entire community for the senseless act of one deranged individual. We have been warmed by your expressions of concern and condolence, and understand that no one wants to see such a horrible tragedy spoil the reputation and spirit of the island.
But we do want to reach out to everyone and ask for your assistance in finding the person who took our son's life. If you have any information that can shed some light on the events leading up to Jamie's death, please contact the local police department. Our son did not deserve to die such a horrible, violent death, and we implore you to help us in identifying his killer and bringing him to justice.
Respectfully,
Bill and Jeanie Cockayne
Parents of the late James P. Cockayne
New Hope, Pa.
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