FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2019
By Corliss Smithen
Public Media Officer
(340) 774-5666 ext. 105
Corraspe sentenced to life without
parole for 2015 murder
ST. THOMAS, V.I. – Attorney General Designee Denise N. George
announced Wednesday that K’Moi Corraspe, who shot and killed Kadeem John inside
a housing community, was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole.
April 12, a St. Thomas jury of 12 men and women found Corraspe, 24, of Contant
Towers guilty of shooting and killing John, 23, on Dec. 10, 2015 at the Contant
Knolls Housing Community in the presence of at least a dozen witnesses at a trial
prosecuted by Virgin Islands Department of Justice's Assistant Attorneys General, Eugene James III and Timothy Perry. After a full day of testimony and almost four
hours of deliberation, the jurors returned a unanimous verdict finding Corraspe
guilty of all eight counts he faced – one count each of first-degree murder,
first-degree assault, third-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment
and unauthorized possession or use of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a housing
community, and three counts of unauthorized possession or use of a firearm
during the commission of a crime of violence.
“I commend the
outstanding teamwork of VIDOJ prosecutors, VIDOJ victim advocates, VIPD
investigators and the prosecution witnesses who bravely came forward and
testified truthfully at trial to assure that justice is done in this case,” AG
Designee George said. “It is that kind
of community effort that is essential in our fight against violent crime and
for the safety and security of our community.”
Assistant Attorneys General Connor III and Perry appeared before V.I. Superior Court Judge Michael Dunston Wednesday morning for Corraspe's sentencing.
his allocution to the court, AAG Connor highlighted the defendant’s conduct
since his arrest on June 23, 2018.
the People’s perspective, as if killing a human being was not enough, the
defendant tried to subvert the course of justice by threatening the People’s
witnesses… One of our witnesses was so terrified that he fled to New York to
hide,” AAG Connor said. “When this
murder happened, there were about a dozen persons, but only one showed up to
testify… The defendant’s strategy throughout this case was that no one would
show up and the case would be dismissed… He rolled the die and he lost. Throughout this case, he hasn’t shown one bit
Leonora Rochester, and his grandmother, Patricia Francis, spoke at Corraspe’s
told the court that she believes her son got killed at the right time.
Kadeem got killed… I had it in my mind that he got killed at the right time
because K’Moi was doing little things in the community,” Rochester said. “Kadeem was the sacrifice for the Virgin
Islands because for a long time, the police were trying to get Corraspe off the
who characterized John as a “good young man who was never involved in any gang
or criminal activity,” said she is baffled as to why Corraspe killed John as
the two men shared a friendship at one time, and asked the court for justice to
am pleading with you that our family receives justice for my grandson who is in
the grave and can’t communicate with us,” Francis said.
he announced his sentence – life without the possibility of parole for the
first-degree murder conviction with credit for the 1,070 days Corraspe has
already served since his arrest – Judge Dunston delivered a scathing rebuke of
the convicted murderer’s actions.
was a senseless killing; it was done in public in front of a dozen or more
witnesses in a public place where there were people close at hand. From the court’s point of view, it was
intentional,” Judge Dunston said.
“Kadeem John was struck down in the prime of his life. Now Mr. Corraspe has essentially given up on
was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and to serve a 15-year prison term for
his first-degree assault conviction, which will run consecutively to his life
sentence. Three charges – first-degree
assault, third-degree assault and first-degree reckless endangerment – were
dismissed and merged into the first-degree murder conviction; the three weapons
charges were also dismissed and merged into the first-degree assault
conviction, Judge Dunston said.
was immediately escorted from the courtroom and remanded to the Bureau of
Corrections where he will spend the rest of his life.
trial, prosecutors relied on the testimony of ten witnesses, including one
eyewitness, to help prove its case.
recounting the events of Dec. 10, 2015, the eyewitness, who lived at Contant
Knolls Housing Community at the time of the killing, testified that sometime
around 11 o’clock that night, she awoke from her sleep after hearing a group of
boys outside making noise. When she
looked through her window, she saw a group of young men, including John,
playing dice and gambling. Then about
five minutes later, she saw Corraspe walk up to the victim and the two began to
wrestle. Corraspe then pulled out a gun
and shot John. The eyewitness ran
outside to render assistance to John and as she was watching the scene,
Corraspe ran away to a waiting vehicle and the vehicle sped away, the woman
said. During police investigation, the
eyewitness positively identified Corraspe from a photo array as the man who
shot and killed John.
Nigel James, who was assigned to the case, told the court that during his
investigation, several witnesses identified Corraspe as John’s killer. Det. James petitioned for and obtained an
arrest warrant charging Corraspe with the crime; however, Corraspe was not
arrested because he could not be located, Det. James said.
testified further that police made contact with Homeland Security to see if
Corraspe traveled any time after Dec. 10, 2015, and they were informed that he
may have traveled on Dec. 17, 2015, on either American Airlines or Delta
Airlines. Det. James received a subpoena
for both airlines and he learnt that Corraspe left St. Thomas on Dec. 15 on
American Airlines for New York on a one-way ticket.
A search of the National Crime Information Center
(NCIC) database revealed that Corraspe was arrested in New York in June 2016 on
a fugitive from justice warrant. Local
law enforcement authorities then made contact with their counterparts in New
York to have Corraspe extradited back to the Virgin Islands, according to Det.
a governor’s warrant, Det. James and another officer traveled to New York and
brought Corraspe back to the Virgin Islands to face his charges, Det. James
said in his testimony.
pathologist, Dr. Francisco Landron, who also took the witness stand, told
jurors that John died from a gunshot wound to the neck.