ST. THOMAS, V.I. – Twenty-five years in prison – with credit for time
already served – was the sentence V.I. Superior Court Judge Kathleen Mackay
handed down today on Tahira Charles.
33, of Estate Bovoni was punished for the June 25, 2016, shooting death of Caseam Daniel, 22, in the
area of First Stop Gas station.
Charles was arrested on
charges of first-degree murder, unauthorized use of a firearm during the
commission of a first-degree murder, first-degree assault, unauthorized use of
a firearm during the commission of a first-degree assault, third-degree assault
and unauthorized use of a firearm during the commission of a third-degree
assault in relation to the fatal shooting.
He later accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to second-degree
“I didn’t really mean to kill
him,” Charles said at his sentencing when given the opportunity to address the
court on his own behalf. “I feel sorry
for what happened… I tried to de-escalate the matter… I hope the family of
Caseam Daniel can forgive me one day.”
Prosecutors had recommended
that Charles serve 25 years behind bars.
In recapitulating the events
of that fateful night, Assistant Attorney General Eugene James Connor, Jr. told
the court during his allocution that the killing was captured on video and that
shortly after the incident, Charles absconded to the British Virgin Islands. He was apprehended on Tortola after being
shot and taken to the island’s hospital for treatment. A police officer recognized Charles from a
poster alerting the public that he was wanted in St. Thomas for questioning in
connection with Daniel’s death. He was
subsequently brought back to St. Thomas to face charges.
Claude Earl Walker said the Department of Justice is pleased with the court’s
sentence will ensure the safety of the community and brings a sense of justice
to the victim’s family,” AG Walker said.
“This case also serves as a good example of the benefits of having a
cooperative law enforcement relationship between territories that are in proximity
to each other, in that officers from the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force were
instrumental in apprehending the defendant.”
At sentencing, the court
heard from the victim’s father, Carl Daniel.
“This crime has impacted my
family’s life so hard that words can’t explain the hurt we’re going
through. My son was my rock, my
anchor. I feel like I am in limbo
without him,” he said, while asking the court to impose the death penalty.
Revona Smiley, the victim’s
mother, echoed similar sentiments.
“My son did everything for
me. My son took care of me… This has
hurt my family so much,” she said.
According to an
affidavit prepared by Det. Nigel James in support of Charles’ arrest, officers
responded to reports of a shooting in the area of the gas station where they
found Daniel’s bullet-riddled body.
Footage from a
surveillance camera showed a black BMW convertible bearing tag number TEF 376
arrive at the gas station with three occupants.
The driver, Devon Grant, exited the vehicle and went into the gas
station’s convenience store. Charles, the front seat passenger, also came out
of the vehicle; the third occupant stayed inside the vehicle, James wrote.
across the street to the area of Oswald Harris Court, where there was a group
of individuals, including Daniel. Charles appeared to get into an argument with
Daniel, took a gun from his pants, shot Daniel three times and then fled the
area, according to James’ affidavit. Based on the accounts of several witnesses
and information from a confidential source, police determined that there was
probable cause to arrest Charles for Daniel’s murder, James wrote in his