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Mar 20, 2019

Mason’s (Et. Al.) Murder Trial Continues With Vior Dire To Admit Caution Statement

The criminal trial of William “Danny” Mason and his fellow accused murderers continues to grip the nation as it plays out in the Belmopan Supreme Court. Mason, along with Terrence Fernandez, Ashton Vanegas, Keiron Fernandez, and Ernest Castillo, was marched into the courtroom of Justice Antoinette Moore this morning. The men are being tried for the 2016 beheading of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas. The trial got underway with more testimony from retired cop Russell Blackett who at the time of the gruesome incident was acting Deputy Commissioner of Police. Blackett was cross-examined by Herbert Panton, attorney for the defense. Panton questioned the relationship between Blackett and Mason, pointing out that Mason and Blackett held conversations personally when Mason was detained. Panton also revealed that certain police procedures were not adhered to as it relates to the booking of Mason. Justice Moore told both parties that she will inform them if Blackett’s testimony will be admitted into evidence by the end of the trial. Also taking the stand this morning was Llewellyn Usher, an attorney who is married to Pastor Lucas’s sister. He was the first to identify the head as that of Lucas. Taking the stand after Usher was Pastor Lucas’s sister Tisby Usher. She told the court that on July sixteen, she was called to the Belize City morgue where she positively identified the head of her brother based on a scar beneath his right eye. She was also shown surveillance footage of Mason’s Belmopan property. In that footage, Tisby Usher identified a man to be her brother. Panton asked if she was able to see the defining scar on Lucas’s face to which her answer was, ‘no’. After a short adjournment, a Voir Dire got underway to determine if a caution statement from one of the accused, Castillo, would be allowed into evidence.  The defense is arguing that Castillo’s caution statement was collected under duress. In fact, in court today, it was revealed that proper procedures were not followed. Panton highlighted the fact that a Justice of the Peace was not present during the interrogation. On the other hand, the prosecution pointed out, through questions posed to the witness, that Castillo by his own free will provided the caution statement. The trial concluded late this evening and continues on Thursday.


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