ST. THOMAS, V.I. – Jurors empaneled to hear the trial of Akil Nibbs
convicted him of weapons and assault charges in connection with an April 20,
2016 incident in the area of a Bovoni gas station.
two days of testimony and almost five hours of deliberation, the 12 men and
women returned a unanimous verdict Friday finding Nibbs, 30, of Estate
Lovenlund guilty of three of the four counts he faced – third-degree assault,
unauthorized possession of an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a
third-degree assault and unauthorized possession of an unlicensed firearm. He was acquitted of the single count of unauthorized
possession of a firearm with obliterated identification marks.
Superior Court Judge Denise Francois has scheduled Nibbs’ sentencing for July
General Claude Earl Walker said convictions like this should help to deter
others from possessing illegal guns in the Virgin Islands.
“Having been found guilty of the charge of
unauthorized gun possession, under a revised Virgin Islands law, the defendant
will be sentenced to the minimum mandatory of 10 years’ imprisonment, with no
possibility of early release, which was why the Legislature imposed the
mandatory minimum – to remove from the streets criminals with guns,” AG Walker
said. “In addition, these guns will be
viewed as radioactive to possible offenders as they hear of the consequences of
possession. They will likely conclude that the potential consequences
outweigh the benefits, and then the mandatory minimum will serve as a real
trial, seven witnesses, including the victim, testified for the
prosecution. Jurors also viewed footage
from a video surveillance, which showed Nibbs pointing a gun in the victim’s
Nibbs took the
stand in his own defense and denied having a gun. He told jurors he was holding a wrench.
to the evidence presented at trial, an off-duty police officer called police
and reported that Nibbs pointed a gun at the victim in the area of Gas Works
gas station in Bovoni. In their
reviewed a surveillance video and observed Nibbs arguing, then pointing a
handgun in the victim’s face.
The victim said Nibbs
entered the gas station and proceeded to curse at him. During the verbal confrontation, Nibbs took a
handgun from his pants pocket and pointed the weapon at the victim’s face. The
victim got into his vehicle and left the area, according to testimony presented
Wharton, who was assigned to the case, responded to a call to go to the area of
Lima’s Grocery. When Wharton got there,
he saw Nibbs and searched him for firearms, but Nibbs was not carrying any
weapons at the time. However, when
Wharton and other officers searched the grocery store, they recovered at least
two firearms. Video footage from the
store’s surveillance cameras showed Nibbs hiding the firearms in the back of
the store, according to evidence presented at trial.
Police arrested Nibbs
on May 13, 2016, based on eyewitness accounts and video surveillance footage.
Nibbs, who was on bail pending trial, was remanded to the
Bureau of Corrections immediately after the jury rendered its verdict.
The case was
prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Natasha Baker.