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Mar 12, 2019

‘Danny’ Mason and Company are on Trial for Beheading Pastor Lue

The trial against William “Danny” Mason and four other men began today in the Belmopan Supreme Court. Mason, who is known to have ministerial friends, is considered the mastermind in one of the most heinous crimes.  He, along with Ashton Vanegas, Terrence and Keiron Fernandez and Ernest Henry Castillo, is charged with kidnapping as well as with the gruesome beheading of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas. The head of the pastor was found by the police inside a bucket in the pan of a vehicle belonging to Mason which was parked at a restaurant where Mason and the other accused men were socializing in Belmopan.  On the first day of the trial, David Dodd, who was kidnapped along with Lucas and Alvis Wright, provided testimony. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Day one of what is being described as arguably the most anticipated criminal trial in recent memory, commenced this morning before Justice Antoinette Moore.  Appearing before the Supreme Court on joint charges of murder were five individuals, including William “Danny” Mason.  They stand accused of kidnapping a trio of men from Mason’s Intelco Hill residence in Belmopan on July 15th, 2016, spiriting them away to Mason’s ranch on the George Price Highway and subsequently decapitating Pastor Llewellyn Lucas.  At the start of the hearing, attorney Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, who up until today represented Mason, withdrew himself from the case.  News Five understands that there is the likelihood of the matter being protracted and therefore would present a scheduling conflict with other clients of his who are set to appear elsewhere before the court during the next few weeks.  The trial got underway shortly after eleven a.m. and a battery of lawyers, including Herbert Panton and Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Lyn Vidal, was present for the initial proceedings.  Via a Skype video conference from a secure location in Texas, eighty-year-old David Dodd was first to take the witness stand.  He provided a vivid, firsthand account of their abduction: himself, Pastor Llewellyn Lucas and Pastor Alvis Wright.  According to Dodd, on the request of Pastor Lue, they visited Mason’s home that Friday afternoon to collect monies that he reportedly owed.  When they arrived at the sprawling compound, they were met by four men who bound and blindfolded them.  Dodd gave an explicit testimony of a struggle that ensued between them and the four abductors, two of whom he described as wearing a red shirt and a white shirt, respectively.  He also went into great details describing a thirty-minute ride inside the pan of a pickup truck before arriving at a farm.  The blindfolds were later removed and both Dodd and Wright were instructed to leave the property forthwith.  At the time, however, he could not account for Lucas’ whereabouts.

Llewellyn Lucas

That sums up Dodd’s statement to the court.  This afternoon, another witness was called to the stand.  Like Dodd before her, Magdalena Teul, who worked at the Mason residence, also provided testimony via a live video conference using Skype.  They were two of three witnesses who provided their account of what they saw that day.

As the narrative later unfolded, several hours later, Sergeant Solomon Westby, an officer attached to the Belmopan Police Formation, was socializing at an establishment and noticed when Mason and his henchmen arrived at that location.  Knowing that Mason was wanted for questioning, Westby called the Belmopan Police Station for backup.  When the team of officers arrived at the bar, Mason and the men were informed that a search of their persons would be conducted.  While the frisk turned up a licensed nine millimeter firearm belonging to Mason, the other men were clean.  They were then informed that a search of the vehicle would be conducted and that’s when Mason began acting suspiciously.  He told police that he was unable to locate the keys to the black Ford F150 pickup.  Nonetheless, the officers were able to unlock the tailgate and lift the cover of the pan and that’s when they observed a black bucket.  They continued the search and inside the container found a crocus sack with what appeared to be a human head.  The men were then informed of their arrest and Mirandized. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

The trial is expected to last about a month.


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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