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Aug 27, 2018

Accused Murderers of Richard and Maria Stuart Take the Stand

Two men charged for the 2010 murder of Richard and Maria Stuart took the stand today before Supreme Court Justice, Colin Williams. Milton Maza and Eli Avila López both proclaimed their innocence to the court. From the dock, Maza told the court that he was innocent of the crime he has been accused of. Lopez did the same, telling Justice Williams from the witness box that he was at home with his wife and two children at Nueva Valle at the time of the murder. The Stuarts were stabbed to death on October sixteen 2010 at their home in West Landivar. On the twenty-first, Maza and Lopez were arrested and later charged for the brutal double murder. In court today, Maza stated that he gave police a caution statement after he was beaten and forced to sign the documents. He said that he did not have any knowledge of what he was signing. That caution statement, however, was entered into evidence. His wife was called as a witness to corroborate his story. After today’s session, Attorney for Milton Maza, Oscar Selgado, spoke to the media.

 

Oscar Selgado, Attorney for Milton Maza

Oscar Selgado

“The crown had closed its case, having called nineteen witnesses including a DNA expert from abroad. Today saw the closing of the case from both defendants. What will happen tomorrow is that the first defendant, Milton Maza, will sort of sit out a bit because he did not call any witness in the case. So the second defendant Eli Lopez Avila gave a closing submission to the court through his attorney, Mr. Leroy Banner. Then the crown will respond by putting forward submissions in which it will assert that is has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt that in fact the first and second did commit the offences charged. Then I will close, responding to what the crown has said, putting my case to that in fact the crown has not met the threshold. The crown had not adduced evidence sufficient enough to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. I am not concern that the crown called a long list of witnesses because at the end of the day the defendants had nothing to prove. The burden of proving the case relied on the crown throughout and standard of that burden was proof beyond a reasonable doubt. So that the crown had the duty to prove to the court its case. Our clients could have remained silent throughout and need not have said anything at the end of the case and it would still have been upon the crown to prove its case. So I am not disturbed that we only had three witnesses in total including the two defendants themselves.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Two defendants took the stand today; Maza from the dock and Lopez from the witness box. Forgive my ignorance but during the trial did the judge accept the caution statement as evidence?”

 

Oscar Selgado

“Yes. We had a trial within a trial, a voir dire. In that voir dire this Lordship the judge had ruled that the caution statement that was elicited from Milton Maza was in fact given freely and voluntarily. Therefore, in my submission I will be making representations that even though the judge ruled the caution to have been admissible because it was voluntarily given, he should now consider the other limb whether or not it is in fact true. So, did a caution statement emanate from my client? Yes. But was the content of it true? That is the other question that the judge and the court have to determine.”

 

The case continues on Tuesday with closing arguments. Attorney Leroy Banner indicated to the court today that he intends to make a ‘no-case’ submission with respect to his client, Eli Lopez.

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