The trial began on Monday, August 1 in the [US] VI Superior Court on St Thomas. On August 11, 2022, both the defendants were found guilty of first-degree murder, aiding and abetting.
On March 4, 2015, the homicide case was assigned to the Cold Case Squad for follow-up investigation. The prosecution team was comprised of the [US] VI Department of Justice Assistant Attorneys General Kimberly Riley, Ziska Anderson, and Anna Scott. Retired [US] VI Police Department Officers Delbert Phipps Sr, Roselyn Bedminster, and Daphne Rouse Carty returned to the Virgin Islands to testify. VIPD Major Crimes officers Sgt Mario Stout and Detective Nigel James also assisted with the investigation of the cold case.
According to the D.O.J., the prosecution proved to the jury that on the night of June 21, 2005, and into the morning of June 22, 2005, both defendants Cajuste and Viviane Stuart, Egbert Stuart’s widow, willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation unlawfully participated in causing the death of Egbert Stuart by multiple stab wounds. According to court documents, on that fateful day, 63-year-old Stuart was found dead in his bedroom at Heritage Hills Condos in Altona & Welgunst. At the time, his wife, Viviane Stuart, told police she returned home to find her husband on the floor in a pool of blood.
Stuart had sustained multiple stab wounds to his body and a large kitchen knife was impaled on his neck. Cold case investigators reopened the case in 2006 after test results from forensic evidence declared Cajuste as a major contributor to DNA material found at the crime scene. In 2016, Jacques Cajuste was arrested in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and Viviane Stuart was arrested in St Thomas by members of the Cold Case Squad and Investigation Bureau.
In commenting on the outcome of the trial, [US] VI Attorney General Denise George said, “Justice has finally been served and I commend our DOJ prosecution team and the [US] Virgin Islands Police Department former and current investigators and Cold Case Squad for their excellent work. This case required the teamwork of the DOJ with the VIPD and a relentless determination to bring the perpetrators to justice. Much gratitude also to the witnesses who came forward. We want our community to know that just because a case is 17 years old, it doesn’t mean we stop investigating. I truly hope this provides some degree of comfort and closure to Mr Egbert Stuart’s loved ones.”
For the first-degree murder conviction, the defendants face mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Egbert Stuart was a well-known businessman who owned the “Manno’s” West Indian Restaurant, adjacent to the Fort Christian parking lot in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas for many years.