(U.S. Virgin Islands)- V.I. Attorney General Denise George announces that Enoch Justin Cole was sentenced to 30 years for his conviction of murder, assault, and robbery charges for the brutal 2015 murder of 73-year-old Augustus Bannis in the vicinity of David Hamilton Jackson Park, St. Croix. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks sentenced Cole on Wednesday February 16, to 30 years imprisonment for Second Degree Murder.
On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, a jury returned the verdict after deliberating for 45 minutes finding both Cole and co-defendant, Avondale George guilty of 2nd -degree murder, 1st -degree assault, 1st -degree robbery, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Cole and George aided and abetted each other in the perpetration of the robbery, taking Bannis’s vehicle against his will and brutally beating him in the process. On that fateful day, Bannis left his home in Estate Upper Love and headed to the park.
According to an affidavit, an officer stated that he arrived on the scene and found Bannis laying on the ground face up with what appeared to be blood pooled in the collar of his shirt. EMTs transported Bannis to the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital where he was listed as unconscious but in stable condition. George and Cole struck Bannis in the head and repeatedly kicked him about the body, causing a blunt head injury and his subsequent death on October 19, 2015.
He remained in a comatose state and two months later, on Oct. 19, he succumbed to his wounds at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. He died as a result of “delayed complications of blunt head injury.” George and Cole were arrested in November of 2015. Bannis was a former pastor of the First Baptist Church in Salisbury, Dominica for 18 years before relocating to St. Croix for 10 years. He served as a Deacon at the Calvary Baptist Church on St. Croix where he taught Sunday School, bible school, mentored the young, and assisted the elderly.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2022
Media Relations Director
(340)774-5666 ext. 10105