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May 24, 2023

18 Years in Prison for the Manslaughter of Laddie Gillett

Earlier today, Justice Antoinette Moore sentenced Kareem Martinez, a former police corporal to eighteen years in prison. On April twenty-first, the twenty-nine-year-old was found guilty of manslaughter for the shooting death of fourteen-year-old Laddie Gillett that occurred almost two years ago in Placencia. After hearing the statements of two character witnesses and a sworn statement by Martinez himself, Justice Moore went on to lay out the factors she took into consideration while making a decision on the custodial sentence. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

With bated breath, relatives and friends from both families, as well as reporters inside the courtroom, waited as Justice Antoinette Moore delivered a blistering sentence – eighteen years in prison beginning April twenty-first, 2023. That’s the custodial sentence handed down to Kareem Martinez, convicted of the shooting death of fourteen-year-old Laddie Gillett.


Linda Gillett

Linda Gillett, Laddie’s Biological Mother

“What the judge gave him I am satisfied with cause at least, I am still in pain. I can’t even explain myself right now cause I am still in pain. I will not see my son; they can go visit Kareem, but I can’t go and visit my son cause I am God. And the rest I am going to leave to God.”


Justice Moore said that the crime is extremely grave and the punishment must reflect that, taking into consideration what is set out by the law. It is ironic that Laddie’s parents reacted quite differently to the sentencing.


Emil Bradley

Emil Bradley, Father of Laddie Gillett

“As another human, I think it from my opinion, my personal feelings, it was a bit harsh. My whole thing here is for him to realise what he did; like she mentioned some rehabilitation and different programs that he could join. I wasn’t expecting eighteen; eighteen was a bit stiff.  She knew why she did that, but for me as a human, a forgiving person, I think eighteen was a bit stiff.”


Arthur Roy Williams

Arthur Roy Williams, Cousin of Kareem Martinez

“I was a bit astonished at the sentencing. Due to the mitigation and the factors considering the character of Kareem Martinez, I thought at least a five-year sentencing would have been appropriate, but eighteen years a bit too harsh for me.”


Bryony Fleming

Bryony Fleming, Mother of Laddie Gillett

“It’s really sad that Kareem is the one that has to pay the price for this. I too agree that eighteen years is an extremely long time. There’s other people who I blame for this situation as well which I would like to make public. The guy “Danger” who called the cops and said listen – that there’s people on the beach that have firearms or whatever else. He could have walked over there and seen the kids and this would have never happened. It’s unfortunate that Kareem is the one who pulled the trigger.”


As the families of Martinez and Gillett reflect on the outcome of the trial and sentencing, they say that the lives of two youths have been lost.


Laddie Gillett

Arthur Roy Williams

“The judge should have taken into consideration knowing that his father is an amputee, he is the breadwinner of the family. Yes we are losing Laddie Gillett and now we are losing another person. So it is like we are losing two persons instead of losing one.”


Emil Bradley

“Yes he is twenty-nine, what about fourteen years? And this is the whole thing, if you are sorry for what you did, it didn’t even have to reach [this far]; he probably would have been spending time already if he had, but you have to find him guilty. I mean that says a lot about him and I listen to the people come and speak on his behalf of what type of person. Yes he is, but if you know this person so good, why don’t you encourage him or try somewhere – I said this over and over on the media – the family have not tried to contact the family. There is no remorse on him or his family’s part. I am sorry for his family. It is not easy. It is not tooth for tooth; it is not easy to have your family there for eighteen years. It is hard on him knowing the situation his dad is in also, but what about the victim? What about fourteen years? He would have been sixteen now, having a driver’s license; there’s a lot of things we could have been doing now. And this is the thing that really hurts me when I listen to it.”


Bryony Fleming

“I am really sorry for his family. We are forgiving people. Sending him to jail is not going to bring my Laddie back. Yes, he has to pay for the crime, but I really have utmost condolences for his family and what they are going to be going through for the next eighteen years. I personally, I’ve come to forgive Kareem for taking away our son.”


Will the sentencing of Martinez send a message to others who may want to perpetrate similar crimes? While she believes that the crime will not be repeated by the offender, Justice Moore says that the sentence is to discourage any other person from committing a similar act.


Bryony Fleming

“This keeps happening over and over and over again with police officers and that’s extremely dangerous. I mean the police officers are there to protect us, to ensure that we are safe and so I think that that’s the message that she is trying to send.”


Laddie Gillett

Arthur Roy Williams

“We wouldn’t want a rogue police society deleting our youths; we wouldn’t want that. But knowing the character of Kareem – first of all, I should have started by saying my sincere condolences to the family of Laddie Gillett. But the character Kareem has and considering all the factors for the court; that is what the magistrate or the judge should have taken into consideration.”


Emil Bradley

“I am not wishing oh yo get time because yo deserve it. I am not really like that, but my whole thing is I want him to learn and for others to see what could happen. So this gives Belize a lot of hope so that they know when things like this happen involving police law enforcement officers that there is hope for them, if they just pursue it. It takes a lot of persistence and we can’t give up. We just have to stay there and be there, be there be there.”


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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