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Dec 3, 2004

Accused copkiller charged with murder

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To the relief of virtually all Belizeans, the manhunt ended with a whimper instead of a bang, as accused copkiller Earl Young turned himself in to police. But the question left unanswered after the brutal apparently unprovoked shooting of police constable Uwin Armstrong, is…why? Today I travelled to the Orange Walk District in search of some clues.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

What twenty-six year old Earl John Young may have been thinking as he was brought over to Magistrate?s Court was–like his state of mind last Friday night–known only to him. Young has been charged with murder for the execution style killing of police constable Uwin Armstrong. We are not sure what evidence the police have that led them to believe that Young is the murderer although media reports state that it was an accomplice who named him as the killer. But why would Young gun down an officer of the law? It is a question that has been plaguing his mother, Elder Juan.

Elder Juan B Mother of the accused

?Well I don?t know why. I ask myself why he did that–and if he did it why? But I do not know why.?

?Well Earl is a person who does not talk much. He don?t really talk. Sometimes I would have to ask him something because I have to with him. He does not talk so much.?

Earl Young was only six months old when his parents separated. He lived with his mother and sister at this wooden house situated on Santa Familia Street in Orange Walk Town. Young attended La Immaculada Primary School, but dropped out after he did not complete standard six. Young spent his days selling bread, bun and panades that his mother made. But one weekend, when Young was fourteen years old, Juan says she sent him to Belize City to see his father and get money to help the family. Juan says her son never returned. Because she was having a hard time raising her children on her own, she did not look for her son and he remained with his father. That is until some time later when there was a disagreement between father, stepmother and son and Young was asked to leave. According to Juan, her son then stayed at various friends houses and hardly came home to visit. Juan says she was aware that the police were looking for son in connection with a robbery that occurred at Aaron Super Store in Orange Walk Town, but it was not until Thursday that she learned the police also wanted him for murder. Juan says she is relieved that her son turned himself in to police.

Elder Juan

?I was afraid that they would kill him–or maybe he might?-like how the police told me they don?t know what will happen because they said Earl have a gun. So I was afraid about that. That is why I told the police that I won?t keep my son in the house and maybe if I keep him here, I could maybe get my death or one of my grandchildren?s death or maybe even one of the policeman. So if my son comes here, I won?t keep him around or I won?t hide him or give him food or nothing because I nuh want have no kind of dealing with that.?

Today we found a couple of Young?s friends on the block where he grew up. According to one of his former classmates, who wishes to be identified only as Shaggy, they do not believe their former neighbour did the murder. According to Shaggy, the last time he saw Young was a month ago.

Shaggy, Friend of Accused

?He was all right; he keep calm; no lot of talking. He just keep cool. He dah wah cool young boy and we just relaxed on everything you know. We nuh talk bout nothing like that. I know he is a cool person. He was no kind of trouble maker. I mi never think that he would have done something like that. He dah mi wah cool young boy, school boy, who used to sell bread and thing when they mi small. When we hear the news we never believe that cause I know they young boy would nevah do something like that. They young boy come from a good family and a good home. So that was really shocking when we hear dah news.?

Juan says the last time she saw her son was around nine months ago when he came by the house. Today she has plans to visit him at Hattieville prison, but is not prepared at this time to make the trip.

Elder Juan

?I just want to tell him that I did not know he was here in Orange Walk and that I feel sad about the news that I heard and the way the police they were searching the place. I am wondering why this is happening to we.?

Juan says she believes it was after her son went on his own he may have kept with bad company. Juan says whenever Young visited her she would always encouraged him to dress well, be good and not get into trouble. But police say their records show that since 1996 Young has been arrested for several crimes.

G. Michael Reid, Police Press Officer

?He has been in and out of trouble with the law for the past eight years or so which included some harm, aggravated assault and couple other charges for stolen property and burglaries. So he certainly has done his share.?

Jacqueline Woods

?Has he confessed to this crime??

G. Michael Reid

?I am not at liberty to discuss that.?

Jacqueline Woods

?Because media reports are saying that it was an accomplice who named him.?

G. Michael Reid

?I am not at liberty to discuss any of those particulars of the case. You know it is quite sensitive and the way the justice system works, any little technicality might jeopardize the outcome of the case.?

Jacqueline Woods

?What was the motive??

G. Michael Reid

?Right now, all we can see was just a senseless murder. It seems like it there were a couple of individuals who were on the town, getting drunk and acting crazy. And there is absolutely no sound reason why this police officer should be dead right now and five children left without a Christmas?

?We certainly believe that we have a strong case–all evidence points to this individual and we believe we will have success.?

Earl Young has been remanded to Hattieville Prison and is scheduled to reappear in Magistrate court on January twenty eight.

According to Orange Walk police they have strong evidence that link Earl Young to the robbery that occurred at Aaron Super Store situated not too far from where Young was raised in Orange Walk Town. It is reported that during the incident the store owner’s dog was shot to death. Meanwhile Minister of Home Affairs Ralph Fonseca has assured the deceased P.C. Armstrong’s family that while nothing can be done to replace their loved one; all efforts would be made to alleviate their financial burden. Armstrong had just undertaken a mortgage for a new home in Hattieville and the ministry has assumed full responsibility for all payments. Armstrong leaves behind a mother, wife and five children along with nine brothers and sisters.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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