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Oct 9, 2015

Belize City Man Beats Third Murder Charge

Gabriel Salazar

Gabriel Salazar has beaten a third murder charge, the latest one from the Court of Appeal this week.  On July fifteenth, 2013, more than two years ago, Salazar was acquitted of the murder of Francis Johnston, a businessman and store owner of Big Falls, Punta Gorda. Johnston was fatally shot and killed during a robbery that turned murder back in September 2010.  The office of the DPP, appealed his acquittal and this week, the Court of Appeal agreed with the judge’s decision at his 2013 Supreme Court trial that his statement was inadmissible into evidence.  In that trial, Johnston’s wife testified that she and her son and husband were drinking coconut water in front of the store. As she went into their house, Johnston’s wife heard footsteps and three masked men appeared. She struggled with her attackers and managed to reach her neighbour and called the police. By the time she returned, her husband had been shot and he was rushed to the Punta Gorda hospital.   But the only evidence the prosecutor was relying on was a caution statement allegedly given by Salazar. During the trial, a voir doire was held after which the judge ruled the statement inadmissible which caused the prosecution’s case to fall apart.  Salazar has beaten two other murder charges before.  He was charged in a murder that occurred in Spanish Lookout where a security guard was fatally shot and killed. Then in another murder case where he walked, Salazar was accused of killing two men, a brother and his brother-in-law in San Pedro whose bodies were found buried in a shallow grave. He also walked from a robbery which resulted in the Spanish Lookout bank robbery.   He now awaits trial for the San Pedro murders.

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