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May 9, 2014

Belize City man detained but released for the murder of a King’s Park resident

Jermaine Patnett

Vince Martinez Junior was murdered within minutes of leaving the funeral for his uncle in Ladyville on Wednesday. No one has been charged for Martinez’s murder nor has the motive been established. But Jermaine Patnett of Belize City, along with one other person, was detained and released on Thursday when he was able to establish that he was nowhere close to the murder scene.  Patnett’s family claims that he has been constantly harassed by the police and now his wife has lost her job. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Following the murder of Vince Martinez Jr. in Ladyville on Wednesday night, police detained a Belize City laborer, Jermaine Patnett. He was picked up on Thursday morning, but after interventions by his attorney, he was released; by then, however, he says he and his family had already been victimized. According to Patnett, he has been targeted by a particular officer because of the incident involving PC Yannick Wade, who was charged for the guns belonging to KBH Security that were stolen from the San Ignacio Police. Wade is Patnett’s brother-in-law.

 

Jermaine Patnett, Claims Police Harassment

“On Thursday, about quarter to eleven, police truck came and said they were going to detain me for a murder that happened in Ladyville. The they take me to Queen Street police station for a half an hour then they take me to my girls work where they took us home where they searched it and they found nothing then they take me to Ladyville police station where they detained me fir the murder that I know nothing about. I was at a meeting at the time that the murder happened.”

 

Duane Moody

“You say that you have been physically abused by the police.”

 

Jermaine Patnett

“They elbow me in my chest about six or seven times.”

 

Duane Moody

“So now you can’t work?”

 

Jermaine Patnett

“I have pain in my chest, I can’t do the kind of work I does for right now until I feel a little better. Then I can get back to my hard work.”

 

Duane Moody

“Why do you believe you are being targeted by the police?”

Jermaine Patnett

“I really don’t know why, sometime I am going to work the police come they search me put all my stuff on the ground and just drive off and leave them, I have to pack them back myself and the go on to my work.”

 

It was an arduous process to free Patnett, says attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, despite evidence and an alibi supporting his whereabouts at the time of the murder. It was not until approximately twelve hours after his detention that he was released.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney

“Jermaine Patnett was picked up when Yannick Wade was picked up because they are related. But he doesn’t live at the house has nothing to do with anything, the police knew that when I went to take him out of the police station at raccoon street  he complained that he had been beaten. So we asked for the medical form which was reluctantly given to us. The same officer that was told to release him to me and walked away turns out to be yes the same officer picked him up telling him that they want him for this murder in Ladyville. All this young man told them that he was nowhere in Ladyville, he could not have been there when that murder occurred because he was at St. Ignacio attending a workshop with his wife so that their baby can go into the school. They didn’t care you know, so the wife called me and I said you know I will look into it she said miss I can prove my husband was with me so she went to the school, got the photocopy of the paper because you had to sign in that you were there, she also got one of the parent who happens to be a parent as well who willingly and graciously I must thank her to say yes she would come to the police station. She went to the police station and what happened there, it is like I couldn’t believe it. I went there and I said I want these two people to give statement which was the wife and this teacher that went. The police were kind of reluctant top take the statement and I went and talked to the officer in charge and I said but Corporal Arzu here we have statements that the investigating officer is not going to take but this is something that will help this case. If the police really want to know that if this young man and another young man with him committed this crime, you want to know you want this evidence so he then instructed and they did the statement. So I then went to see my client and when I went to see my client he said miss I could tell you where I was but not only that when I was brought here by Belize City officers he says the investigating officer Corporal Sutherland told them that this young man is of no interest in this case we are not looking for him and they refused to release him.”

 

It was almost as if the family is being forced into poverty says Matura-Shepherd. The action taken by police has led to the dismissal of Patnett’s common-law-wife, with whom he shares three children. An emotional Alicia Oliva says that police took her home to search for guns and ammunition.

 

Alicia Oliva

Alicia Oliva, Wife

“Yesterday dehn come dah my shop the police tell me that I have to close down the shop, when I tell he I cannot close down the shop because I have to call my boss when I call she, I tell she boss, police deh yah because they have to go and search my house. So she was like okay I am coming right now, she called me back and she said close down the shop and I close down the shop and I went and make they search my house, they left my house in a mess. This morning now I get a text on my phone saying that please come to Eve Street for 10:30. So I was like I know that she call me to fire me that is what I told my boyfriend this morning. I went to Eve Street waited there for she, yesterday she said that how, she the fire me due to weh I close down fi she shop.  She fired me, tell me because she heard rumors that I want mek dehn rob fi she two shop dehn come on if I mi want make they rob fi she shop she left me the go pick up keys, the go pick up money now I just the say it now to the media fi mek dehn know weh she do to me is wrong. She should have give me a chance because she know that by law and by right I cannot tell them that I cannot take them to my house.  I have three pickney fi maintain I do my honest cleaning living job before I get his job I use to clean teachers house at St. Ignatius, I do manicure, pedicure, I do any sort of little things so that I can maintain my home and my children. I have three children; my daughter is graduating June from Ebanks Preschool. It’s hard for me now because what am I gonna do.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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