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ST. CROIX — Francis Williams, the former police officer found guilty for the murder of two of his colleagues, Officer Lesha Lammy, 30, and Kai Javois, 28, was sentenced today to 61 years in prison for his crimes by VI Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks.
Judge Willocks sentenced Mr. Williams to 30 years for each of the killings, two concurrent ten-year penalties for the weapons conviction and a one-year consecutive term for the stalking, V.I. Department of Justice Public Media Officer Corliss Smithen announced Friday.
“You will spend the rest of your life in jail,” Judge Willocks told Mr. Williams as he handed down the judgment.
The prosecution team of Assistant Attorneys General Quincy McRae, Nadja Harrigan and Timothy Perry had recommended that Mr. Williams be given 200 years — 100 years for the life of Lesha Lammy and 100 years for Kai Javois. In his allocution at sentencing, Mr. Perry highlighted the life and service of each of the victims, cut short by Mr. Williams’ actions.
“Lesha was Williams’ lover, his would-be wife, a woman he had spent Christmas with surrounded by her children, Safia, Samara, Vivian, and he did all of this knowing she had three children,” Mr. Perry said. “They were ages 6, 11 and 12 when Francis Williams murdered Lesha Lammy and he did all of this, knowing she was a cop, a Virgin Islands police officer, who, despite the poor pay, the dangers inherent in every stop, the hard work in the day and in the night, every day put on a uniform and the badge of the Virgin Islands Police Department and worked—with humor and grace and strength—to protect the community.”
Mr. Perry then reminded those in the courtroom of Mr. Javois’ service to his country.
“Kai left the island at 18 – a boy – to serve his country as a U.S. Marine, the most dangerous and bold and brave military service under the American flag. He served with distinction a tour of duty in Iraq and a second tour of duty, with distinction, in Afghanistan. In the most dangerous places on earth, he fought for our freedom here. When he returned home to St. Croix, to friends and family, he sought to serve the community, so he joined the Virgin Islands Police Department. By all accounts, he was strong and kind, and fun-loving. I’ve heard again and again from men and women attached to this case that he was just so happy to be home, so happy to be a police. He didn’t serve the VIPD for more than six months before defendant Williams shot him in the back of the head and burned his body… like trash.”
According to someone which knowledge of the plans, Mr. Williams is expected to be shipped to the infamous Red Onion prison in Virginia.
The high-profile court battle, which took place in May, saw the prosecution building a case that sought to paint Mr. Williams as a man whose feelings were hurt after learning that the woman he loved had left him for another man. Adding to the burn, the prosecution argued, the man was another police officer who had been a junior officer on the police force and a person Mr. Williams had considered a friend.
“Hell has no fury like a man scorned,” said Ms. Harrigan during opening arguments on May 13. With her gaze set on the jury, she added, “He [Francis Williams] could not stand that Lesha had moved on and refused his marriage proposal.”
The defense had sought to cloud the jury’s mind with reasonable doubt by bringing other individuals that Ms. Lammy and Mr. Javois were close to that the defense contended could have committed the act. From a man against whom a number of police reports were filed by Ms. Lammy, along with a restraining order, to Mr. Javois’s girlfriend, whom he lived with while dating Ms. Lammy.
In the end, however, the jury was convinced that it was Mr. Williams who murdered his two colleagues that fateful day in August 2016 at Hams Bluff, Frederiksted, which is located all the way past the crusher to the North of the island.
Mr. McRae said he was very pleased with the verdict for the families of Mr. Javois and Ms. Lammy. “We cannot bring back Lesha and Javois, but I hope that there’s some sense of justice for the family,” he said.
Mr. Perry said he was honored to fight for the families of the deceased victims, and said that the Dept. of Justice had been working on the case for the past two years.
Steve Javois, Kai Javois’s father, said, “It’s a good day. Justice was served. God don’t sleep.”
During closing arguments on the first day of trial, the defense sought to weaken the prosecution’s smoking gun — a shell casing found on the scene that the prosecution, through tests performed in Louisiana by an ATF agent, confirmed to be from Mr. Williams’s weapon. The defense argued that if Mr. Williams was cleaning the crime scene, why would he remove all the other shell casings but leave the most visible one, which was located near Mr. Javois’s white Jeep Wrangler. The defense also argued that the weapon was test-fired and compared to fragments found in the bodies of Mr. Javois and Ms. Lammy, and said that the prosecution could not conclude with certainty that they came from the weapon that was assigned to Mr. Williams.
“If the bullet does not fit, you must acquit,” Defense Attorney Gordon Rhea said.
The prosecution contended that Mr. Williams was simply sloppy with cleaning up the crime scene. And when Mr. Rhea reminded the jury that there was no DNA tying Mr. Williams to the crime, the prosecution painted Mr. Williams as a seasoned officer who had trained colleagues.
The prosecution leaned on what it appeared to have considered one of its strong points: motive. Mr. McRae said it did not matter how the defense sought to connect other individuals that Ms. Lammy was close to, or had past relationships with, to the crime — it was Mr. Williams who had the motive to do harm to his former lover and her new boyfriend. The prosecution said Ms. Lammy and her ex-husband, with whom she shared three children, had a good relationship at the time of the incident. And Mr. Javois’s girlfriend did not know of the relationship with Ms. Lammy and Mr. Javois until it was discovered that he had been murdered.
“He is the only one that did not return any calls concerning the fact that Lammy was missing,” Mr. McRae argued. Mr. Williams, the prosecution said, had been visiting Ms. Lammy’s mother often following the breakup, expressing to the mother how much he loved her daughter, and at one point even showed the mother the ring he had bought for Ms. Lammy that he hoped would be the wedding band used during a union that he had envisioned.
However when Ms. Lammy went missing, Mr. Willliams, the prosecution said, would not return the mother’s calls, nor did he help in the search to find her.
“Most people, when the person they love is in trouble, you can’t keep them away… But Francis did nothing — he did nothing — not a text,” Mr. McRae argued.
Adding to the suspicions, the prosecution was able to recover some of the texts that Mr. Williams had sent. They include: “Lesha left me for this loser.” “I can’t believe she did this to me.” “They moved Javois to the night shift so he and Lammy will have more time to be together.”
Some other texts were darker: “They just want to fuck with me. She will get hers. They will get what’s coming to them.”
“Justice was served well today,” said Attorney General Denise George. “My heart goes out to the children, family, close friends and fellow VIPD officers of the murder victims, VIPD Officer Kai Javois and VIPD Officer Lesha Lammy. I commend the teamwork of the Virgin Islands Police Department and the Virgin Islands Department of Justice to bring this defendant to justice from investigation through arrest, prosecution and conviction. Most importantly, this could not have been accomplished without the honorable persons in our community who did not stay silent, but came forward with information and as witnesses in this case, as well as the VIPD officers who dared to break the proverbial ‘blue code of silence’ and testified in order to see that justice is done. Justice is indeed a community effort.”
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