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Jun 15, 1999

Court of Appeal to hear new evidence in old murder case

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Wilfred Lauriano was convicted of the murder of Diego Tzul at the Farmer’s Market in 1993 and sentenced to death, but several years later, in a move right out of the most popular detective novels, attorney Kirk Anderson made a dramatic appeal to the Privy Council saying new evidence had come to light indicating that another man had killed Tzul. Jason Clarke, now an inmate of the Hattieville Prison made a statement to police implicating Kenrick Hendy in the murder. Hendy had escaped from prison just days before the murder at the market, but was shot to death by police a few weeks later. While many would say it’s easy to pin a murder on a dead man, the Privy Council apparently felt the matter bears closer examination. Today, the Belize Court of Appeal decided it would allow Jason Clarke to testify. However, in order to be certain that Clarke “understands what he is getting into” as one of the justices puts it, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, who has had no prior connection with the case has agreed to advise Clarke about his rights and the fact that he may incriminate himself by testifying. Kirk Anderson has also been asked to turn the case over to another attorney since he will probably have to testify and submit to cross examination about Clarke’s affidavit. Tzul’s wife and another witness, Jose Fuentes who identified Wilfred Lauriano as the gunman will be called by the prosecution, D.P.P. Adolf Lucas. The case was adjourned until June twenty eighth. Justices Kenneth Georges, Dr. Nicholas Liverpool and Elliot Motley presided this morning.

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