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May 14, 2014

Joseph Budna gets another 30 years for kidnapping

Former freelance reporter, Joseph Budna, is facing decades behind bars in neighboring Guatemala. Budna has amassed two convictions for kidnappings and back on April twenty-first, Budna escaped from the Zacapa Regional Hospital where he was reportedly receiving medical attention. Despite three guards on watch, he managed to flee; he was caught three days later in Jocotán Chiquimula while trying to flee to Honduras. On Tuesday, he was sentenced in the Department of Chiquimula for abduction.  Duane Moody has a report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

El Tribunal de Sentencia Penal de Zacapa…the Zacapa Criminal Court on Tuesday committed Belizean Joseph Budna to serve thirty years in prison for kidnapping. It is the second conviction for the former freelance journalist turned criminal in neighboring Guatemala. Late last year, he was imposed a twenty-five-year sentence following the conviction of another charge of kidnapping. This latest judgment is in connection with the abduction of a man from whom Budna demanded a ransom of one million quetzals. Reports are that forty thousand quetzals were paid and the victim was released in Chiquimula. But today, after sentencing Budna was transferred to another prison in Guatemala, the Fraijanes.

 

Budna’s woes started over a decade ago when he was living in Belize. In 2000, he was charged with an unnatural crime and aggravated assault following claims that he had sexually abused a fourteen year old boy in Orange Walk. Years later, the former San Pedro resident resurfaced in a rather peculiar robbery incident in Belize City.

 

Joseph Budna, Robbery Victim [File: Jan 31st, 2011]

“I stopped the car and he took out a firearm and placed [it] at my head and ih tell me move noh do nothing stupid. Ordered me to get from the driver seat to get on the front passenger seat and his bra-lee, the one I know, Troy, to get the driver’s seat and to start drive. He ordered Troy and kept the gun on me. He said noh do nothing stupid, roll up your glass good, show we weh di master lock deh and I showed them. The alarm went off but I locked it back. And they turned down George Street went back outta town. I heard the one behind saying they bwai di wait pan we by the guest house—they bwai ina di next vehicle. So apparently what I believe is that they would have used my vehicle to commit some kind of crime—some huge crime including murder, kidnapping or robbery and then thereafter throw my body away or take my body a next direction until they get through. Probably this is the way they operate. They put the gun at me when they put the gun at me where I told you, they ordered the driver to go out as to the seaside, but because a vehicle was coming behind—they didn’t know it was the police or who this vehicle was just the gunman telling this one bwai wa vehicle deh behind yo loose this vehicle. Go yah go yah.”

 

Joseph Budna

Also in 2011, he accused the police department of illegally detaining him.

 

Joseph Budna, Suing Police Department [File: November 7th, 2011]

“They locked me down in the cell, took away my property and as a result at about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, police constable, PC Jones arrived at the police station with a pan of tools in his hand in civilian clothing. They took me out of the cell and had me observe the search that he was carrying out—opening the door covering and all these stuff; damaging two three doors of the vehicle. And after searching this vehicle they found nothing illegal. They wanted to hold the vehicle because they wanted to check with Interpol. So they went inside and spoke with one Inspector Mai who instructed them to release my persons with all my belongings with my vehicle—that everything is clear; nothing illegal. After leaving the station, I contacted my attorney Mr. Elrington immediately and informed him about the detention which I believe was illegal and we’re taking legal action upon this detention because it’s first time the police have been harassing me.”

 

He was off the radar for some months until 2012, when he resurfaced in Guatemala as an alleged kidnapper, arms dealer and sexual predator. It is reported that in Jalapa and Chiquimula, Budna posed as a doctor providing healing remedies to wealthy families. It is these same persons that he would in turn kidnap in an effort to extort large sums of monies but his misdeeds finally caught up with him. Duane Moody for News Five.

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