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May 20, 2014

2 Guatemalans acquitted of murder in the south

Two men are tonight free from the charge of murder; Adelso Picon Rodriguez and Nilo Morales Valdez who were accused of the March 2010 murder of Valentin Duarte which occurred in Cowpen Village, Stann Creek District. Duarte was shot on March nineteen and hospitalized for five days until he succumbed to injuries on March twenty-fourth, 2010. The case was tried in the southern regional session of the Supreme Court. The prosecutor was Senior Crown Counsel Linbert Willis who called eight witnesses. The most crucial testimony came from Duarte’s wife, who was the only eye witness to the murder. But the case hinged on identification of the men and Duarte’s wife did not give the police a proper description of the men she claimed killed her husband providing only a vague description. The duo accused of the murder were both Guatemalans and were in the country illegally. Allegations were that there was a third man but she made no mention of that person. Duarte’s wife had identified Picon and Morales in an ID parade, but during the trial, she told the court that when the two accused were arrested, the police showed her a picture of Picon and told her his name. The attorneys argued that the ID parade was flawed and that the prosecution failed to show that there was a joint enterprise even though there was mention of a third man who could have fled back to Guatemala. Attorney for Picon was Michelle Trapp-Zuniga of the Legal Aid office. She submitted numerous reasons why the ID parade was tainted.  The two accused gave caution statements, but did not implicate themselves in the murder. They merely stated that they went to a shop to meet Duarte because he was selling a piece of land.  The judge accepted no case submissions and the trial ended in the acquittal of both men before Justice Denis S. Hanomansingh in the trial by judge without jury.

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1 Response for “2 Guatemalans acquitted of murder in the south”

  1. H@tari says:

    Again the police foul up a case due to ineptness. They can’t even get the basic investigation done right.

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