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Jul 30, 2019

Investigation Officer Takes the Stand in Belmopan Murder Trial

As the trial of William “Danny” Mason and four other accused men continues in the Supreme Court, an investigating officer took the stand today. The officer testified as to how he found the head of Pastor Llewelyn Lucas inside a bucket in Mason’s vehicle which was parked at the lot of Sanchos Bar in Belmopan. The officer was investigating a robbery; Mason and the others were inside the establishment.  The accused men had attempted to prevent the officer from searching the vehicle, but when he did, he made the gruesome discovery. The men were detained and taken to the station, except for Mason.  The officer had spotted blood on the clothing of one of the accused.  Lucas had previously gone to Mason’s hilltop house on the Intelco Hill in Belmopan to collect money; soon after he was beheaded.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

It was another day in the Belmopan Supreme Court for the five men accused of the heinous murder of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas back in July of 2016. In the morning session of the trial, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police, Russell Blackett was brought back to be cross-examined by the defense attorneys.

That was followed by the highly anticipated testimony of the investigating officer, Sergeant Holly Vasquez, who opened by saying that he was following a robbery investigation, which took place at the Income Tax Department on July fifteenth, 2016, which led him to a bar in Belmopan. There, he met the five accused men, including William “Danny” Mason. The officer says he indicated that he wanted to search a black pickup truck belonging to Mason, but was told that Mason’s wife had the keys.  According to Vasquez testimony, upon making the request, the four men created a barricade and prevented him from searching the vehicle. He called for backup and MIT personnel later arrived to assist. The four men were detained and Mason was taken to his house to retrieve the vehicle key, but it turned out to be the wrong set of keys and the vehicle could not be opened. The pan of the truck was not locked and Vasquez says that when he looked inside a black bucket, he saw a human head with duct tape from the mouth to the lower chin, and a blue bandana around the neck. He also observed a roll of duct tape, a yellow gas nossel, two metal pipes and a white sheet inside the pan of the truck. The window to the driver’s side was then shattered so that the officers could access the cab of the pickup and inside Vasquez says he discovered a loaded nine millimetre magazine on the door handle; as well as a shot gun in the back seat, cellular phones, and two additional nine millimetre magazines. The key to the truck was later found near the bathroom of the establishment. While mason and the truck were taken to the Belmopan Police Station, the head was transferred to the Western Regional Hospital. It all happened between 8:15 p.m. on July fifteenth and ended at 1:20 a.m. the following day.

Following the session this morning, defense attorney Bryan Neal says that they will cross-examine the testimony of the investigating officer because they have some issues with the way his investigation was conducted.

 

Bryan Neal, Attorney

Bryan Neal

“Hopefully we can point out how poor his investigation was because if something starts bad, it should end bad especially in a court of law. So we have some issues with his investigation; the way it was conducted and we want to try to cross-examine him to see if we can bring out any inconsistencies that would satisfy the court that this was a poor investigation.”

 

Norman Rodriguez, Attorney

Norman Rodriguez

“If there are holes, you will have to come into the court to find out when I do my cross or when any of the other attorneys do their cross. But today it is basically what we have been doing all along. The witnesses come, give their evidence, they are examined.”

 

The prosecution has been producing witnesses and evidence that they believe would cause the murder charge to stick against the five accused men.

 

Bryan Neal

“The prosecution has been able to marshal all these evidence; the court appointed me to defend Mister Fernandez. My position now is that the court should employ a DNA expert to assist Mister Fernandez. I have assisted him as far as my expertise can go. But the point that you raised that the D.P.P. has had all this time, all these witnesses and all the defendants have are their attorney. We need more resources so that we can try to assist these defendants in a proper way.”

Justice Antoinette Moore, who is presiding over the trial without jury, has indicated that loci, as previously requested, will take place. Those visits to several areas revealed during the trial will be conducted on Friday.

 

Bryan Neal

“I had raised it earlier, but in my own view, we still don’t know where the victim was killed. So to go to the farm to me doesn’t make any sense. It is not my call. I raised it in court this morning. I have done my duty to my client. It is a call for the judge and the judge is saying that she who is the ultimate arbiter of the facts need to see the scene. To me, I have a different view, but it is not my call.”

 

Duane Moody

“But sir, isn’t the farm–based on the evidence that has been revealed so far in the trial—wasn’t it on the farm that the alleged murder weapon was discovered; that the headless body of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas was discovered?”

Bryan Neal

“It was discovered in a pickup truck at Sanchos Bar; not at that farm.”

 

Duane Moody

“The head was found there, but wasn’t the rest of the body found on the farm?”

 

Bryan Neal

“I have seen no evidence that the body has even been found. There is no body to match to that decapitated head, as far as I have seen in court.”

Norman Rodriguez

“As defense attorneys you never know when something will be said in that court or when you will see something in the evidence that will assist you. So I cannot say whether it will or it will not assist us. But when we go there, we go with an eye for detail and look for every opportunity to find something that will assist our clients.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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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