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Aug 18, 2015

One of Two Accused Robbers Acquitted of Murder of Mennonite Businessman

Ernest Staine

Tonight, one of two men accused of the murder of businessman Wendelin Reimer, who was shot and killed during a robbery at Eagle One Hardware in October 2011, is home free after being acquitted of the charge earlier this evening.  Twenty-five-year-old Ernest Staine and twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas Swazo were jointly charged for the incident which occurred near mile four and a half on the Phillip Goldson Highway.  It is alleged that a trio of armed robbers entered the business and proceeded to relieve the cashier of one hundred and seventy-five dollars in cash before fatally shooting the owner when he entered from the rear of the building.  The entire ordeal was captured on surveillance footage, leading police to the identities of Staine and Swazo.  A third suspect was never arrested because his identity was never ascertained.  In court today, Justice Adolph Lucas presided over the matter which is a trial without jury.  Attorneys Dean Molina and Christelle Wilson, who represent Staine and Swazo, respectively, both filed no case submissions.  Wilson submitted that footage of the incident was not of the highest quality and therefore does not show the individual, whom is believed to be her client, in clear view.

Nicholas Swazo

Molina, on the other hand, suggested that while Staine was present at the scene of the crime, he was unaware of the shooter’s intention and that he admitted to being there only to rob the hardware store.  In Staine’s testimony, he said that after entering the building for a third time they proceeded with the robbery.  That’s when Swazo produced a firearm and held up the cashier.  He, Staine, then hopped over the counter and grabbed the cash register.  When the proprietor emerged from the rear of the store, Swazo reportedly set chase.  The crown’s main witness then testified that when her boss ran out of the building she heard two shots fired.  While Staine has been acquitted of the charge against him, it is expected that Swazo will testify on Wednesday.

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