Khoy Smith Murder: Justice Hangs in the Balance

Jan. 4, 2005 – The prosecution and defense both pled their cases before members of the jury in Superior Court Friday as they gave closing arguments in the week-long trial of two young men charged with the 2002 slaying of Khoy Smith.
Smith, 23, and the father of five children, was shot to death Oct. 27, 2002. His body was found in the bush near Building 3 of the Tutu High-Rise Apartments the following day with a single gunshot wound where the bullet had entered his back and exited through his stomach. (See "Tutu High-Rise Killing is Fourth in Six Days in V.I.").
Gregory "Marv" Williams and Kendall "Bolo" Williams, who are not related, are charged with first-degree murder, assault and unauthorized use of a firearm in connection with the crime.
During the trial, the prosecution painted a picture of the two young men as "cold-blooded killers," while the defense attorneys Andrew Capdeville and Francis Jackson both argued that their clients were not responsible for the crime because they had alibis.
In giving his final summation, Assistant Attorney General Ernest Bason told the jurors not to take his word for it but look at the evidence.
Bason pointed to the fact that Kendall Williams owns a green Honda Civic, a car that eyewitnesses have claimed that Smith's killer was in.
The prosecutor also said the defendants had motive. Kendall William's Mariendahl home had been burglarized of $6,000-worth of items four days before the murder, and he had made a police report through his girlfriend. Kendall Williams had also indicated that there were rumors in the community that Smith was the one who had burglarized his home.
Bason also sought to discredit the defense's alibi for Gregory Williams, who is believed to have fired the shot at Smith, while Kendall Williams drove the car.
On Thursday witnesses for the defense, including his mother Karen Charleswell, had testified that Gregory Kendall was home that day.
"He wasn't home," Bason said. "He was in a green Honda, and he had a rifle."
Bason reminded the jurors of the testimony of the prosecution's material witness Raymond Smith Jr., who claimed to have been at the scene with Khoy Smith when he was shot. Bason told the jury that Raymond Smith had to be arrested in Jacksonville, Fla., and be brought back to St. Thomas in order for him to testify. Raymond Smith had left the island after giving police his account three days after the shooting of what had occurred during Smith's slaying.
"'Don't shoot me, I've got five kids,'" Bason said to the jury. "That's what you heard from Khoy. You heard it through Raymond."
Capdeville, in defense of his client Gregory Williams, said, "indeed there was a lot of evidence," but added his client was "simply not there."
Capdeville maintained his client was at home as his mother, stepfather and a cousin all testified. Capdeville then sought to discredit the prosecution's witnesses.
He said Raymond Smith admitted in court that he and Khoy Smith were in the area to get marijuana, and after the shooting occurred Raymond Smith did not speak to police about the incident until three days after.
Another prosecution witness, Makeda Peterson, did not give her statement until July 2004, almost two years after the incident, Capdeville said. Plus the other eyewitness for the prosecution, Ishmael Sasso, admitted in court that he was a liar and had lied to police.
Capdeville said the testimony of the three eyewitnesses was similar and had a "common thread" – Detective Mario Stout, who had taken the statements from each of the eyewitnesses.
"Detective Stout had his mind made up from the time he got there," Capdeville said, urging the jury to do the right thing.
Jackson, who represented Kendall Williams, told the jury just because the defendants did not graduate from high school "that doesn't make them stupid nor does it make them cold-blooded killers."
Jackson told the jurors that Khoy Smith's girlfriend Danielle David had testified as far as she could tell Khoy Smith and Kendall Williams were acquaintances.
Jackson said further there was no "physical evidence" linking his client – or anyone for that matter – to Khoy Smith's death.
"Reasonable doubt, that's the concept here," Jackson told the jurors, adding that the prosecution witnesses provided sufficient reasonable doubt.
In relation to the green car, Jackson told the jurors there were 68 more green Honda Civics on the island registered around the same time as his client.
"A green car does not put Kendall Williams at the scene," Jackson said.
He said further, "It was a heinous crime, no doubt about that." He added that the question was whether the right individuals responsible for the crime were in the courtroom.
The defense attorney said his witnesses all attested that Kendall Williams was at work at the West Indian Creations store the Sunday of Khoy Smith's murder.
"That's not common sense to get burglarized, call the police to report it and then turn around and kill somebody," Jackson said. "What makes more sense is that this was a drug area."
Bason in his rebuttal of the defense's arguments said, "Common sense would have told you that if Kendall had an alibi a year ago, he would not have been here," Bason said. "What kind of friends and coworkers do you have that would let you rot in jail for a year and not say you were at work that day."
Bason said the defendants' alibis were fabricated.
"It took almost three years for this fabrication," Bason said. "And that's what it is, a fabricated alibi."
Bason said the prosecution calls the defendants "cold-blooded killers" because they killed a man in broad daylight on a Sunday with no mask.
After being instructed by Judge Ive Swan, the jury went into deliberations Friday evening and had not yet arrived at a verdict at press time.

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