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Mar 16, 2018

Everal Martinez Charged with Step-Daughter Allyssa Nunez’s Murder

Everal Martinez

Her plight touched the heart of many Belizeans. Her unnecessary death enraged them. But life went on in the Old Capital as twenty-one-year-old Everal Martinez was briefly and quietly arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court for murder charges this morning in the death of seventeen-month-old toddler Allyssa Nunez. It had been anticipated ever since her passing on March fourth, four days after she was rushed to the local clinic with injuries allegedly sustained while in the care of Martinez, her stepfather. The next day, Martinez was read four charges related to attempted assault and attempted rape of a minor by penetration. Martinez is now also charged with rape of a child and assault of a child under sixteen years of age and was remanded. News Five’s Aaron Humes reports that the arraignment was handled in utmost secrecy – a far cry from the show of strength used eleven days ago.

 

Everal Martinez

Aaron Humes, Reporting

On March fifth, twenty-one-year old Everal Martinez was brought to Magistrate’s Court under the tightest security in memory, as an angry crowd of protestors called for his head. The step-father to seventeen-month-old toddler Allyssa Nunez had been accused of two counts of attempted rape of a child and two other counts of attempted assault of a child, which he denied through defense attorney Oscar Selgado. But he was remanded to prison because, as explained by Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, bigger charges were coming.

 

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions [File: March 5th, 2018]

“We had, of course, intended to object to bail because of the seriousness of the offence, the likely sentence to be imposed, and the publicity this had garnered, which all go toward suggesting that he may not, later on, have submitted himself willingly to the jurisdiction of the court. But we were actually informed before court sat, by the attorney for the defense, that he would not have been making any application for bail, because he had understood that the victim had passed away, and he anticipated that a more serious charge would be levied subsequently.”

 

This morning, as the Twenty Thousand Strong event took place across town at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex, there was no baying crowd, no barricades, no flashing cameras. Just police from Criminal Investigation Branch rushing Martinez in a police mobile to court and then back to the Central Prison after the arraignment. As expected, the new charges are murder, rape of a child and assault of a child under sixteen by penetration. They are all indictable offenses and in the case of murder, not usually subject to bail.

So tightly under wraps was the arraignment held that not even attorney Selgado was present, procedural though these matters usually are. There was no family present for Allyssa, not even her mom or dad. Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford read the charges and returned Martinez to custody at the Belize Central Prison until May eighteenth, the date originally given on the previous charges. But even though he wasn’t there today, Selgado has made clear that Martinez considers himself innocent – and so should the rest of society until he is tried.

 

Oscar Selgado

Oscar Selgado, Attorney for Everal Martinez [File: March 5th, 2018]

“So that in Belize this thing about demonstrations that I am seeing happening, it is good because a crime like this cannot be tolerated at any level in society; but at the same time, we want to make sure that we have the right person arrested and charged.  It is no good right now, the public heralding death for Everal Martinez, when in fact he is an innocent person and the wrong person could be in jail while the guilty person walks the streets. So I am saying until the man is given a fair trial by an independent and impartial court, let us treat him as an accused person, merely a suspect person because that is what he is, a suspect in an alleged offence.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

Baby Allyssa Nunez was laid to rest on March tenth. According to Selgado, he was promised to be informed of today’s developments but he missed the arraignment even though he was handling a bail application not far away. Allyssa’s mother was said to be in the area but had not been informed of the arraignment.

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