Man held in V.I. prison in Bucks man's death

Posted: August 07, 2007

An 18-year-old man was being held in a U.S. Virgin Islands prison yesterday in the slaying of James P. Cockayne, 21, of New Hope, who was stabbed and bludgeoned in June on the island of St. John.

A police spokeswoman yesterday said that no arraignment date had been scheduled for the suspect, identified as Kemal Thomas, who also was under investigation in another, evidently unrelated, matter. Police said they were seeking "other people of interest" in connection with the beating death, which occurred after a bar fight.

Thomas was arrested Friday night, almost two months after the incident. The victim's family had complained that the Virgin Islands police had failed to pursue the investigation vigorously. In July the family hired a lawyer and private detective to conduct an investigation of their own.

The attorney, Sean Summers, said yesterday that he did not know how many suspects police were seeking but that the private investigation had identified a second man. He added that a bail hearing would be held for Thomas later in the week. - Anthony R. Wood

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