Joh and Jalani Williams, convicted of first degree murder in November for gunning down 25-year-old Almonzo Williams outside a dance on St. Croix in 2009, were sentenced this week to life in prison without possibility of parole. Co-defendant, Khareem Hughes, 20, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
The judge in the case — V.I. Superior Court Presiding Judge Darryl Donohue — sentenced Hughes to 15 years in prison: 10 for manslaughter and five for reckless endangerment, to be served consecutively.
In November, a St. Croix 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, the purported getaway driver, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment, but not murder.
Prosecutors argued Almonzo Williams was 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 of the casings were tied to a .380-caliber automatic, which was found on Jalani Williams after he fled the scene with Hughes the morning of the murder.
Police have said the Almonzo Williams murder may be linked to several other murders which may be tit-for-tat retaliation killings. (See related links below.) Jalani Williams is brother to Rasenjoni Williams, who was shot subsequent to the Almonzo Williams murder. Rasenjoni was shot while out on bail awaiting trial for the March 2009 shooting death of 33-year-old Steve Williams of Sion Farm, all of which appear to be part of an ongoing feud.
While incarcerated and awaiting trial, Hughes was charged last year with assaulting a corrections officer with a homemade knife.