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Oct 22, 2019

Mason’s Trial Winds Down; Attorney Ready for Closing

William “Danny” Mason, Ashton Vanegas, Kieron Fernandez, Terrence Fernandez, and Ernest Castillo were back in the Belmopan Supreme Court today as the trial continued.  As we reported on Monday, the trial resumed before Justice Antoinette Moore where U.S. Special Agent provided testimony about a report that Mason made.  Mason told him that he was allegedly being framed by Minister John Saldivar.  Mason, who used the name Rajesh Ouelette, was advised to get legal counsel.  At the time of the murder, it came to light that Saldivar and Mason were known and that in fact Mason had shares in the Belmopan Bandits, a football team owned by Saldivar.  The hearing continued today where a forensic crime scene investigator exhibited one hundred and sixty two photos. These photos were admitted into evidence. The photos showed the alleged crime scene at the Outback Ranch, as well photos of the clothing and footwear the suspects were wearing, an F-150 truck that belongs to Mason, bones, and Pastor Lu’s severed head.  The Forensic Crime Scene Investigator was also briefly cross-examined on the stand.  Now, those one hundred plus pictures aren’t new to the defense team.  Today, Mason’s attorney Dexter Todd said that he doesn’t believe the photos present any bearing on the case and were admitted to just complete the matter.  When he spoke with the media today following the hearing in Belmopan, Todd said that he is ready to wrap up this case, as he goes on to present his closing arguments on Wednesday.

 

Dexter Todd

Dexter Todd, Attorney for William “Danny” Mason

“It is the law in Belize that the judge at the close of both the prosecution and the defense case that they can call a witness. Reference was made to a CD that contained over a hundred and something photos. What the judge respectfully did is to allow those photographs to go in. Because the CD was disclosed to us from the beginning of the trial, so it wasn’t anything hidden. So, I guess for completeness, the court allowed all the necessary information that were available and disclosed to defense to come into evidence.”

 

Reporter

“What were the features of these pictures, sir? We get the sense that it focused mostly on the Outback Ranch area, which the police believe to be the crime scene?”

 

Dexter Todd

“As you would recognize that the issue as to where the crime scene was is still an issue in contention. The police did take photos at the ranch because they believed that certain things were there and certain things happened there. As to whether the court is going to use that evidence or that photograph to conclude that is crime scene is something we will have to allow the court to determine.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, are you able to say if there were any specific issues raised as it relates to the photo exhibition today?”

 

Dexter Todd

“There were no specific issues raised to the photographs. What I believe we will do is attempt to do comparison of the evidence and the photograph and we will draw that attention to the court in our closing. So, I think it was important to have it in for completeness. As to whether it adds anything to the case, I don’t believe so, but it is there. It was there. It was available, let’s use it.”

 

Reporter

“There has been a lot of talks in the showing of the photographs about bones and stuff like that, has any of these bones been identified as human bones in the trial?”

 

Dexter Todd

“Well, you would recognize that the evidence before the court is that they are bones and they are unidentifiable, so what the court will make of that is a determination fully up to the court.”

 

Reporter

“We note that tomorrow you go up first for closing arguments, are you prepared sir?”

 

Dexter Todd

“Oh! I was prepared from the beginning of this trial when I came on, we could have closed at that stage. I am excited to be back. I am excited to wrap this up. I believe there is nothing that is going to drop out of the sky. What will be said in court is basically what had transpired in court and that is basically what we will be bringing to the judge that we wish that she pays attention to, basically, because ultimately it is for the court to decide at the end of the day.”

 

As you heard just now, Todd will be presenting his closing argument on Wednesday, along with the crown. Closing arguments will continue through to Friday afternoon.


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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