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Feb 21, 2017

William Mason and Others to be Tried for Murder, Kidnapping, Conspiracy

This morning, accused murderer William ‘Danny’ Mason and his alleged partners in crime appeared in magistrates court where a preliminary inquiry was held.  Their appearance was mostly drama-free. With the defence electing not to challenge the case brought by the prosecution, it was simply a matter of turning over the requisite evidence and the Chief Magistrate making a simple declaration of a prima facie case made out against William Alexander “Danny” Mason and others for the beheading murder of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas and the separate kidnapping of David Dodd. It went by so quickly that there was even time for police to detail what they hope is the evidence that puts the Mason gang away for life. Aaron Humes reports from the Magistrate’s Court in Belize City.

 

William "Danny" Mason

Aaron Humes, Reporting

If paper alone could talk, then William Mason; Terrence and Keiron Fernandez; Ashton Vanegas; Ernest Henry Castillo and Ryan Rhaburn would be convicted many times over. But the papers and other items handed over by police prosecutor Chester Williams at today’s preliminary inquiry before Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith are only part of the story. The rest is up to the more than twenty witnesses who gave those statements to police, and who will be asked to stand behind them in the Supreme Court. It’s why both defense attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley and Williams, at a case status conference two weeks ago, both seemed to look past this day while re-stating its importance.

 

 

Dickie Bradley

Dickie Bradley, Defense Attorney [File: February 10th, 2017]

“I informed the Chief Magistrate that we will not be wasting time, that the law provides that once there is some evidence – they use these Latin phrases, prima facie and so on – one there is some evidence in the file – it is not a trial – the procedure is that if there is some evidence in a file against an accused, the attorneys can make submissions or they can save that until when the trial gets under way. The trial is the proper place for that matter.”

 

ACP Chester Williams, Prosecutor [File: February 10th, 2017]

“I am not the person who will decide the outcome of this case, so I am not in a position to answer that question; but I can tell you as an attorney and as the person who is dealing with the matter at the Magistrate’s Court level, that there is sufficient evidence in the file, against the other defendants, and that is the reason why the D.P.P. did not direct that charges be withdrawn against anybody else.”

 

Bradley and fellow attorney Oscar Selgado were away from the Chief Magistrate’s courtroom today, leaving Mason and his fellows to face the music alone. Apart from the paper statements and reports from the Scenes of Crime technicians and coroner Dr. Mario Estradabran, there are two key things police are hanging their hats on: DNA from the blood found at the crime scenes and video surveillance. Williams explained the significance of both.

 

 

Reporter

“Sir, in the case of those tests that were sent abroad and the ballistic tests, will the results be available in time for the trial?”

 

Chester Williams

ACP Chester Williams

“We are hoping that they will be; we have sent them and by all indications, we believe they will be in the country by then. The case has been committed to the June session of the Supreme Court, so I believe we have sufficient time to get the evidence back in the country for then.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, we noticed that the Chief Magistrate placed stress on the video evidence that you all provided; are you able to confirm that that is part of the evidence and that is something that will be relied on?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“Of course yes, we have a video surveillance tape that the prosecution will be relying on at the trial in respect to this matter.”

 

Reporter

“Relying heavily upon, as one of the key exhibits?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“I’m not going to say heavily, but we will be relying on it.”

 

There is a caution statement from one of the defendants and video interviews with all of them except for Mason, who invoked his right to remain silent under the law. But one thing expected to come out at trial is information about who he really is.

 

Reporter

“There were some documents – I’m not sure if I am correct – but banking information from Canada to here?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“Those are things that the police did to have been able to establish the true identity of Mister Mason, and those documents will be relied on to show who William Mason truly is.”

 

Reporter

“So can you say who he truly is at this point?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“It has been said in court – the documents are there.”

 

Reporter

“And also there were some in relation to companies that they established here in Belize?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

“Yes. The company that was established by Mister Mason, and the documents pertaining to those companies – the articles of incorporation and so forth – will be relied upon to show the company and who the directors of those companies are.”

 

But even without the DNA, Williams and the D.P.P.’s office believe they have a case beyond reasonable doubt. Sometime after June of this year, they get to tell it to the judge. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

The case will be heard in the Supreme Court beginning any time after June twentieth. Due to changes in the law, the case will be tried by a judge alone.

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