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Oct 22, 2015

Viola Pook Sentencing Deferred

Viola Pook

Fifty-seven-year-old Viola Pook, convicted of the murder of her common law husband Orlando Vasquez, was sentenced to life in prison in July 2011.  She was found guilty of killing her forty-seven-year-old spouse after lighting him on fire inside their residence in Rancho Dolores Village in January 2009.  The Court of Appeal subsequently overturned her conviction, setting aside her old sentence and ordering a retrial.  In mitigation earlier today, four persons, including a psychiatrist at the Kolbe Foundation, spoke on Pook’s behalf.  Bryan Somerville says that he has visited Pook in the female section of the Belize Central Prison everyday for the past six years and finds her to be a very quiet person.  According to Somerville, she shared with him how remorseful she feels about killing her husband and that she never meant for it to happen.  It was the testimony of Pook’s daughter, however, that delved into details leading up to the deadly encounter.  Christy Jeffords told the court this afternoon that the reason her mother attacked Vasquez was because he was allegedly molesting a child in their family.  Pook’s attorney, Iliana Swift, also asked the court to consider a lesser sentence since she is afflicted with Battered Women’s Syndrome.  Pook is also a victim of domestic abuse.  Justice Adolph Lucas has deferred sentencing to October twenty-ninth.

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