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Aug 10, 2011

Rhett Fuller considers the future of freedom and US detention

On Tuesday, Rhett Fuller and his wife Ann, got the bad news that the Privy Council dismissed his appeal for an extradition request by the United States government. Fuller has been in an out of the courts fighting extradition for the alleged murder of Larry Miller in Florida USA way back in 1989. The Privy Council has now put his fate in the hands of the Minister of Foreign Affairs who will decide whether or not he will hand over the Belizean to the US government. The magnitude of the judgment is bearing heavy on the shoulders of the Fullers. So what’s next? News Five Isani Cayetano sat with them today for a candid interview.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

More than two decades after returning to Belize from Miami forty year old Rhett Fuller is still fighting for his freedom.  He is wanted by federal authorities in the United States for a murder that was committed back in 1989.  Despite proclaiming his innocence and denying any involvement in the crime, extradition, in light of a recent Privy Council decision, is a strong possibility.  Fuller has, since 1998, fought tooth and nail to remain a free man, exploring all legal options and exhausting the judicial system.  It’s a battle that saw his case elevated to the Privy Council in London where he lost his appeal.  Today his fate is in the hands of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Rhett Fuller

Rhett Fuller, Wanted for Extradition

“The person that was accused of the murder did serve, I think it was eight years out of a twenty-five year sentence so he really and truly only served a portion of the sentence that he was convicted of.  That person was tried and convicted of murder, first degree murder and that is the same charge that they have now brought up to me into Belize and now accusing me of committing this murder in Miami whereby they had already tried and convicted one person for.  So it’s actually a double charge for the same crime, charging us both for the same crime.”

Isani Cayetano

“It has been twenty-one years [since] and you’ve had this legal situation looming over your head since moving back to Belize.  Talk to us a bit about what it has been like going through the courts all the way and now having a decision being handed down by the Privy Council.”

Rhett Fuller

“Well it’s a lot of stress.  It’s a lot of worry.  It’s a lot of not knowing what happens next.  It’s been twenty-three years I believe actually, the time that’s spent between the initial charge or the initial commission of whatever crime they’re accusing me of and today.  It’s been over the years, basically to be honest with you on a day to day basis with your day to day life, your day to day problems, your day to day activities.  You don’t really think about it but whenever you need to go to court, whenever you’re expecting that decision, whenever you read something in the newspapers it gets to be a lot of stress.  It gets to be almost unbearable at times.”

Isani Cayetano

“Your husband is now at the mercy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs subsequent to the Privy Council handing down its decision on Tuesday.  He has also exhausted the entire judicial system.  What’s to happen if the minister were to proceed with is extradition?  Are you prepared to revisit or challenge that particular decision in court?”

Ann Fuller

Ann Fuller

“Well at this point, you know, it’s just occurred and we’re just, you know, clearly very overwhelmed with the whole scenario but I wouldn’t say that we are prepared to do this or to do that because clearly we’re just taking one thing one step at a time, you know.  But what we definitely will do is we will leave no stone unturned.  We will go and do whatever it is, whatever it takes for us to do so that we can at the end of the day say we have done our best.  As it pertains to the honorable minister, as a wife, as a mother and as a Belizean I am just appealing to him to be very careful when he does the stroke of his pen because it has great power.  And as one of my good friends just told me today she said with that stroke of that pen that man can change your entire life.  He can change your life, your husband’s life your children’s life.”

Rhett Fuller

“When it comes to me I will ask the minister to make a decision based on what my value is here in Belize, that I employ many people.  That I’ve been a good citizen; I don’t have a police record, there’s been no arrests [and that] basically I’m a productive person here in Belize.”

Isani Cayetano

“In essence what you would have to do would be to launch a public campaign to drum support from Belizeans so as not to send one of their own to face the judicial system abroad.  What is your plan?  What have you come up with in terms of garnering that support?”

Rhett Fuller

“Okay, basically we’re working on something.  But certainly in the past I remember the time that we took this to the Supreme Court there were many cards and letters and phone calls of support and I’m just hoping that people would continue to do the same.”

Ann Fuller

“He has creditors that are relying on him.  He has employees that are looking forward to their continued employment.  He has friends, family that love him, colleagues and it goes on and on so it’s, you know, far beyond just his core of family and friends.  It’s the wider community at large and what the minister needs to ask himself before he writes the answer to whatever he decides is; will it benefit Belize more?  Will it be better for Belize for a Belizean to set this precedence and just go?”

It is expected that the merits for Fuller’s extradition will be reviewed carefully by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is also an esteemed attorney, before a decision is handed down on the matter. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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15 Responses for “Rhett Fuller considers the future of freedom and US detention”

  1. Storm says:

    Belie has more than its share of murderers walking its streets. Send this one to the States to face justice!

  2. chad says:

    Rhett, when you meet with the minister dont even go the route of how good you are, how many people you employ, how clean your record is etc. That wont mean a thing to any of them, especially to an uncle tom like sedi. they will always refer back to the statute of limitations on murder, like they are instructed to do. JUST tell the minister that belize should save you like a trump card, and wink at him. see if his artificial a$$ will read you.

  3. Earl Grey says:

    IF YOU DO THE CRIME YOU MUST …………………….DO THE TIME!!!!!!

    DID HE DO THE CRIME?????

  4. Elgin Martinez says:

    Rhett please stop wasting your money on those sellout attorneys.If i were you i take the first flight out of Belize to Venizuela or Cuba.

  5. ger says:

    if you donot have nothing to worry about then you go and answer to what is being alleged then if you ar einocent you will come out so why run

  6. Alex says:

    If Rhett is so innocent why not voluntarily go back to prove his innocence.

    Boy when you left Miami you left the family whose house you changed the bloody clothes under pressure. They took licks for months thereafter. Even the Cabrals who bought your mother’s house were under pressure. There were so many raids at the house after they moved in.

    Stop lie to we…we aren’t fools who can’t find out what you did in America. As a matter of fact one of the officers on your case was a Belizean. Go prove your innocence and stop hiding and running since you’re Mr. Perfect. You forget that after you came to Belize while working at Ramada you use to threaten man telling them that you done kill and could do it again.

    You will pay for your crime one way or the other you lying murderer!!!

  7. ms. hotty says:

    All i have to say is send his butt back to Florida to do his time for the crime he has committed . Why should he be better than those who are being locked up for their crimes. I don’t hear them complaining not because he is a belizean that he should be treated different.

  8. Elton says:

    A full judgement from the Privy can be seen at http://www.jcpc.gov.uk/visiting/sittings.html. Especially good reading from page 23 to end. Apparently the US does not say he pulled the trigger but that he was involved in planning a robbery. Its good reading and shows how much times the US came into Belize to talk. Why not take the deal? Something more here! Have to be!

  9. Carolyn grey says:

    I along with all the other Belizeans who were enjoying the party in the appartment building where his family lived behind the 163 rd, street mall in miami, knows that night when the young fuller ran home scared as hell crying saying he did not mean to kill the man. He said he and his friend only wanted to rob him. He did the crime and should pay the time. Does he know how it affected that man’s sick wife and his family and friends. No matter how many years has passed he deserves what he gets.

  10. chabelli says:

    I cannot access the Judgment.

  11. someone says:

    very interesting indeed, Elton.

  12. Lourdes Cuello says:

    Rhett needs to stop all his “BS”..cause he knows that Alex got 25yrs & my brother Carlos got 27yrs for participating in the crime with Rhett..he was there he acted freely..don’t make me send my brothers transcript from his case to the news papers in belize so they can publish it. The more I read about this case the more upset I get. My nephews grew up visiting their dad in jail. I still remember the eight hour drives to Tallahassee,Fl. with my mom & the boys. My nephews paid a very high price because of that night!

  13. juk says:

    no watch no face belizean need to mind thier own bussiness and no d get in other peoples affair let reth fullet go free everyone deserves a second chance in life!!!!as for those who like judge people trying putting your foot in his shoes ,would u like to be judged after so manny years!!! i rest my case

  14. Dennis G says:

    I worked for Rhett here in Belize, he was a very good and decent man.
    The US Penal system is a corporate “Jail or profit” scam that only cares about a body count and not the facts or culpability in any of their countless conspiracy cases.
    After 2 decades of this hanging over his head and now years of incarceration for something this old, he has truly paid any dues, let him go!

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