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Jun 15, 2018

Businessman Jose Villanueva is Executed by His Neighbor, Jeweler Manuel Pacheco

Jose Villanueva & Manuel Pacheco

Just before news time on Thursday, shots rang out on East Collect Canal near the Pound Yard Bridge which resulted in the murder of a mechanic. Several shots were fired at Jose Villanueva, who was hit three times to the back as he stood inside his yard. His neighbor, with whom he has been feuding for some time, was detained immediately after the murder. It is not entirely clear if the deceased had made reports against his alleged killer Manuel Pacheco, a jeweler. What triggered the gun violence is still under investigation, but family members believe that a barking dog infuriated Pacheco. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Fifty-year-old Jose Villanueva was shot dead in his yard – allegedly at the hands of his neighbor, well-known jeweler Manuel Pacheco. It all unfolded here inside Villanueva’s compound on the East Collet Canal in Belize City, sometime around five-forty on Thursday evening. Villanueva was on his property and Pacheco, we understand, was inside his jewelry shop. This now closed shutter was up – and it was through the window that Pacheco exchanged words with his neighbor, that not even this high concrete wall proved to be enough of a barrier between the two men. And within minutes Pacheco allegedly drew his firearm and fired several shots – three of which hit Villanueva. According to his common-law partner, her grand-daughter recounted this version of events that supposedly started with an argument about Villanueva’s dog.

 

Carmencita Mendez

Carmencita Mendez, Common-law-wife of Deceased

“She mi see and said that he just mi move wah dog over deh and the dog mi di mek too much noise and it irritated Mr Pacheco and they were having a back and forth, he and Mr Villanueva. But when Mr Villanueva turned he shoot ah. That I could tell you because we just see the postmortem – three shots to the back. Three shots. One passed through there to the lungs and that I guess is what killed him. Three shots he got.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, there was an argument before you said?”

 

Carmencita Mendez

“An argument before and stoning something. One stoned something and the next stoned something, that what we could see inna the camera.”

 

Police were on the scene shortly after – gathering evidence – as these markers indicate. Villanueva was here in front of the gate – and it was when he turned his back – the three bullets caught him. He tried to go for cover – but collapsed a short distance away near the doors to his business. Mendez says her husband’s licensed firearm was discovered still in its holster by his side because he never drew a weapon on Pacheco to incite the attack.

 

Carmencita Mendez

“To me he kill ah like an animal because I never expected that. I neva think – because you know in the afternoon I told him to be careful because he has a thick gold chain and I told him to be careful because we saw the video with the jacking. So, I told him, “take care yourself.”   I still have that hurt because it shouldn’t mi get to this big. Murder for something, is worthless.  I say it is worthless.”

 

Jose Villanueva

Andrea Polanco

“Did you ever fear that it would get to something like this – knowing that they had an ongoing feud?”

 

Carmencita Mendez

“I always feared but I never know it wah go to this extreme. They throw words, pulled machete and I said that is it. But the two of them have a licensed gun.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Your husband never pulled a gun on him?”

 

Manuel Pacheco

Carmencita Mendez

“No and that I could tell you and the police will say it. He was coming out from the thing – and the gun will be there if he had the gun and my gentleman run to go where he has the business and that is right where he – because that is where I saw him. But when he was there the gun was at his side in the holster because neither was the holster open – nothing.”

 

The men have been neighbors since 2012, and there was “no love lost” between them.  According to Villanueva’s brother, the problem started about the property Villanueva’s business is located. This was once one plot of land – but when the owner decided to sell, he subdivided it and sold a plot to Villanueva and the other plot to Pacheco. Sylvester Villanueva explains.

 

On the Phone: Sylvester Villanueva, Brother of Deceased

“My brother tell me that deh had wah lee hard talking. It was because dog and then it was about a survey. Mr. Pacheco bring people fi survey the place and then he had to haul. He mek deh survey because of the fence and that dah mi wah up and down weh deh had deh. My bredda mi gone do two statements one time about Mr Pacheco and look like it stayed so because they neva do nothing.”

 

Mendez says that ever since then Pacheco has harassed and threatened her husband, until the long-standing feud culminated in the cold-blooded murder on Thursday evening.

 

Carmencita Mendez

“Over some years that has been going and from 2012 when he opened that business there and from ever since then I guess.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you know what could have prompted that hatred that Pacheco was showing towards your husband? What caused that?”

 

Carmencita Mendez

“I really can’t tell you. Because even Mr. Pacheco’s girlfriend used to call names to my husband, they used to harass him. A couple of Sundays we were sitting right there and he passed one Sunday four times and the four times he passed he do ah so [pull trigger sign] and I commented to a police officer but Jose say that he wouldn’t do him anything.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And so he had been threatened before?”

 

Carmencita Mendez

“Oh, he was threatened all the time. People see and people know. They always would say that they will go testify if he wanted. Everybody know.”

 

Long time friend and work associate Robert Slusher says Villanueva will be remembered by the way he lived – not the way he died.

 

Voice of: Robert Slusher, Friend of Deceased

“Excellent guy. Very peaceful, quiet, very jovial. To see what have happened to him, I didn’t expect it. I know in life we do have problems but for it to escalate to take another person’s life, in this fashion, I don’t think it should have happened. If I did come out yesterday this wouldn’t have happened.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Why do you think your presence here would have made a difference?”

 

Voice of: Robert Slusher

“Because I look out for him. Like how you say I got your back. I wouldn’t have let that gone to that level. I am blaming myself. I am telling you, my mom was telling me Robert if you were there it wouldn’t have happened. I told her, ‘yes, mom.’ So, ninety eight percent would not have happened.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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