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Dec 22, 2008

Ben Bou-Nahra dead: Murder or Suicide?

Story PictureWe begin tonight’s newscast with the strange death of Ben Bou-Nahra, a thirty-four year old businessman who has had his own share of run-ins with the law. Bou-Nahra died from a single gun shot to his head early Sunday morning at the K.H.M.H. It follows two scuffles earlier in the night, one in Benque Viejo del Carmen and another at the parking lot of the San Ignacio Hotel, where he was shot. Marion Ali was in San Ignacio today and has a report.

Marion Ali, Reporting
His name was the topic of controversy for several days after his murder trial went up in smoke for the shooting death of Shawn Copious on his King’s Park property on September seventeenth 2006. Now Ben Bou-Nahra is dead, the victim of a gunshot wound that penetrated both sides of his head. The incident occurred early on Sunday morning at the popular San Ignacio Hotel, which is owned by the family of Bou-Nahra’s girlfriend, Avita Bedran. Officer Commanding the San Ignacio Police Station, Senior Superintendent Paul Wade, explained to the media that they found Bou-Nahra lying on the bed inside the hotel room.

Sr. Supt. Paul Wade, O.C., Cayo District
“On Sunday the twenty-first at around three forty-five a.m., the police responded to a shooting incident at room one o one in the San Ignacio Hotel here in Cayo. Upon arrival, the police saw one Chayben Bou-Nahra, a businessman of Belize City, lying down with what appears to be a gunshot wound to the head. Mr. Bou-Nahra, at the time, was accompanied by a female friend, one Ms. Avita Bedran of the Central Farm area of the Cayo District. Mr. Bou-Nahra was in an unconscious state.”

Bou-Nahra was first taken to the San Ignacio Hospital, then to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where he succumbed around seven o’clock on Sunday morning. But while the post mortem results will not be out for another day, the details police have provided to the media suggest it may be a case of suicide.

Sr. Supt. Paul Wade
“At the scene the police recovered one nine mm pistol with twelve live rounds of ammunition. Police also recovered one expended nine mm shell from the scene. The only witness is Ms. Bedran. She is currently being questioned in relation to what might have taken place. On arrival at the scene the police was told by Ms. Bedran that Mr. Bou-Nahra shot himself because he was upset.”

But police forensics experts have taken swab samples from both Bou-Nahra and Bedran to confirm her statement. Bedran herself has been treated at a hospital in Belize City for trauma following the incident. And that incident might have been provoked by two altercations in which Bou-Nahra was embroiled just prior to the shooting; one at a discotheque a few miles away and the second right just outside the hotel he was staying. Apparently, after the first fight Bou-Nahra returned to his hotel room to change his shirt. On his way back out, he got involved in the second scuffle with Richard Acosta and Richard Arnold who intervened.

Sr. Supt. Paul Wade
“We have interviewed some witnesses which confirm that Mr. Bou-Nahra was involved in an altercation. First one at the Benque Rock Disco in Benque Viejo sometime before this incident occurred and another incident in the parking lot of the San Ignacio Hotel as well where he might have injured someone and he himself had got an injury to his head. That is what we have been able top confirm through witnesses. And the people who had allegedly done that was also making a report at the station in Cayo when the alleged shooting occurred in the room, so they were at the station making a report against Mr. Bou-Nahra at the time when the shooting occurred in the San Ignacio Hotel. Basically, they were alleging that Mr. Bou-Nahra assaulted them with the weapon.”

Police say that it was after the second fight that an irate Bou-Nahra returned to his room with his girlfriend. They have gathered that she was inside the bathroom when Bou-Nahra allegedly pulled the trigger on himself. The post mortem is set for twelve-thirty Tuesday afternoon. Marion Ali for News Five.

Bou-Nahra was acquitted of the murder of Shawn Copious on October twenty-fourth, 2007 after three police officers who responded to the scene of that shooting could not positively identify him in court.

This evening the attorney for the Bou-Nahra family, Emil Arguelles, issued a statement on the family’s behalf. The Bou-Nahra family expresses disappointment that their request to have an independent pathologist present for the post mortem has been denied. However, Arguelles told News Five this evening that the expert will be on stand-by if the family requires a second opinion of Ben Bou-Nahra’s death.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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