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Nov 25, 2019

Collin Francis Arraigned for the Murder of Nestor Vasquez Jr.

Collin Francis

Collin Francis, believed to be suffering from mental illness, has been charged with the murder of Nestor Vasquez Junior in June of this year. Francis spent the weekend in the same cell where the deadly beating of Vasquez took place. He was being detained for the attempted murder of a nurse who was treating him for his mental state when the vicious attack on Vasquez took place. According to Francis’ attorney, Dickie Bradley, there has not been a psychiatric evaluation of his condition, but tonight he is on remand. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.  

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Sixty-year-old Nestor Vasquez Jr., a mental patient, lost his life on June eighth after being beaten to a bloody pulp by a fellow mental patient inside the Queen Street lockup where he was being held in custody at the request of his family.  He was fatally attacked by Collin Francis, who at the time was also being detained for the attempted murder of Nurse Augustina Elijio, a caregiver for persons suffering from mental illness.  This morning, Francis appeared before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford where he was arraigned on a single charge of murder.

 

Nestor Vasquez Jr.

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Attorney-at-law

“We are dealing once again with an accused person who has been exhibiting symptoms that he’s mentally ill.  As we would know, and I tried to find out today, he had been before the magistrate’s court on the matter of having stabbed a psychiatric nurse.”

 

On Friday, Francis was once again taken into custody pending charges stemming from the deadly encounter and housed in the same holding cell where the incident occurred several months ago.  Representing the family pro bono, due to the nature of the case, is attorney Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley.

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

“The family came to me over the weekend and said that the police had picked up their son, I think on Friday and that he was housed at the same Queen Street Police Station cell block where he’s accused of taking life, where he actually took life.  I mean that is a failure to understand that we are dealing with mentally disturbed persons.  They don’t think like us, they are in a different world from us.  He probably is having some kind of flashback in there…  You know I can’t go there but you don’t take him to the same facility.  You know that he was attending a psychiatric clinic; he was being given medication for mental illness.  Surely man, come on, this is not the regular citizen.”

 

Despite his arraignment and remand, Francis is yet to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.  His present state, however, is described as non compos mentis, a juristic term used to describe a person’s action as not motivated by reason, but being influenced by some false image or mental impression.

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

“This is not a matter that, and I told the family, I can’t charge them for a matter like this.  Just like how our brethren Jules Vasquez and his family are hurting on their loss, another family is out here hurting knowing in their view that their son, from about eight to ten years ago, has been showing serious signs of mental illness.  You all know the law, the law is that if a person is non compos mentis, he is not mentally capable of forming a rational intention to kill, no court can find him guilty of murder.”

 

This morning, Assistant Commissioner of Police Joseph Myvett explained that Francis was picked up following a directive from the Office of the DPP upon conclusion of reviewing the case file.

 

Joseph Myvett

ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

“On Saturday last, police have since arrested and charged Collin Francis, twenty-nine-years-old of a Belize City address, for the crime of murder.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, I know the family has complained as saying why did the family take so long.  Can you offer an explanation?”

 

ACP Joseph Myvett

“Well, what I can say is that the investigation was done and the evidence gathered, including the case file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for her to make a determination and that has just concluded, hence the reason why he was arrested on Saturday.  Those directives were returned to the police on Friday.”

 

Collin Francis is set to return to court on January seventh, 2020. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


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