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Feb 10, 2016

Shopkeeper Who Killed 2 Men is Free

Edison Johnson

Fifty-three year old Edison Johnson, a resident of Carmelita, was freed on Tuesday and tonight he is home with his family.  The shopkeeper from Guinea Grass was behind bars since April 2014, accused of killing two men he found on his farm in Carmelita. He ended up pleading guilty to two counts of manslaughter and was sentenced to six years for each, to run concurrently. But Johnson is now a free man, after Justice Herbert Lord deducted time from the sentence for Johnson’s plea which saved the court time, for his assisting the Police and for time served already on remand. In the end Johnson had only a year to serve, but since he had already been in prison for two years it was considered time served. Tonight, we revisit the story from 2014, when Johnson’s then attorney Hubert Elrington lamented the fact that his client had even been charged.

 

Hubert Elrington

Hubert Elrington, Attorney for Edison Johnson [File: April 16th, 2014]

“He keeps this farm out here because he is looking at his old age, and as you can see it’s well planted out with coconuts…it has mangos and all kinds of things. He is trying. And then he came in on Friday at ten o’clock and he found the whole of the roof of his house gone, the ceiling almost gone, the furniture gone and from then until about six o’clock he was waiting here for the Police to come cause he called them but they said they could not find the place, because it is kind of remote. And when he was about to leave with his son a vehicle with some men in it came. Some of them had machetes. What happened is not very clear, but he discharged two shots and two men died, and he was taken to the Police Station. He gave the Police a statement. His son who was with him gave the Police a statement. And as far as he was concerned it was his life and his son’s life that was on the line. He didn’t know what their intention was and he didn’t have much help from the Police. He was waiting for the Police but the Police weren’t here when the men came. And about five years ago right here, his watchman was killed and chopped up and they found his watchman about eight days later already decomposed, right here. So he was very much afraid for his life and for the life of his son. A person in Belize is entitled to use force, even to the extent of lethal force, in defence of his property, in defence of himself, or in defence of another. That would be justifiable homicide, so murder would be unjustified homicide. So the law clearly states that if you are on your property and you are under attack, you are not to stand there and allow anybody to kill you or to run rampage on your property, you are to defend it and defend yourself.”

 

The men shot in the incident were Luke Cox and Saul Garcia, both from the village of Carmelita.

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