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Oct 3, 2012

B.D.F. volunteer arraigned for murder; cousin tells his side of the story

Jermaine Michael Rhaburn

B.D.F. volunteer Jermaine Michael Rhaburn is tonight at Wagner’s Facility at the Belize Central Prison following his arraignment for the murder of BDF Soldier, twenty-one year old, Clifford Cruz. When he appeared in the Belize Family Court this morning, no plea was taken and the seventeen year old was remanded into custody until November twenty-ninth. On Tuesday night we told you that Cruz, another B.D.F. volunteer soldier was killed by Rhaburn at the Militia Hall. Both volunteers were involved in an argument which escalated and resulted in the fatal shooting of Cruz with an AR-fifteen B.D.F. issued weapon. But, Rhaburn says his life was threatened and he was in a chokehold when he attempted to warn Cruz. While details on the incident have been sketchy and the family of the deceased wishes not to appear on camera, Rhaburn’s family opened up to the media with the minor’s side of the story. It is alleged that Cruz, who was under the influence of alcohol, attacked Rhaburn over a report of a missing cell phone.


Sheree Salgado, Cousin of the accused

“I was with Jermaine all the way through the court and everything. I got to talk with him and he said nothing was supposed to go the way it went. It was an altercation, the guy came, attacked him and he walked away, as usual. He went inside of the guard room where this person followed him, attacked him again, choked him and he couldn’t breathe and he couldn’t catch his breath. I don’t want to get into details because of the investigation, it is still going on you know. He said it wasn’t the way it went, and the way people are saying the other side of the story.”


Andrea Polanco

“Now, are you able to tell us what the argument was about? Was it something that was work related or a problem that they’ve had before?”


Sheree Salgado

Sheree Salgado

“Well, rumors are saying that it is because the other person had gotten a promotion but that wasn’t his side of the story. He told me that he had reported a matter to the corporal because of an incident that had happened the day before, over a cell phone that was missing. He reported it and that was the reason why they had the altercation from the Sunday.”


Andrea Polanco

“Now, this argument that they had, according to what he said to you, it happened out in the open, like on the compound?”


Sheree Salgado

“First the argument happened out in the open, but like I said, the corporal sent him to the guard room for a boots and that is where Mr. Cruz followed my cousin to the room and attacked him.”


Andrea Polanco

Clifford Cruz

“So the superiors were, would you say, from what he said to you, were aware that there was some tension between the two of them?”


Sheree Salgado

“Well like he said to me, yes, there were people around who saw that they were about to get into an altercation; which I say, it could have been prevented. He said they just passed, watched, laughed and walked away.”


Andrea Polanco

“Is he claiming self-defense?”


Sheree Salgado

“Not really. When I spoke to him, I don’t want to get into details because I don’t want speculations, only the two of them know what happened. I only heard his side. It’s not a matter of murder. I would say it was self-defense.”


Andrea Polanco

“So from what he told you, he felt like his life was being threatened?”


Sheree Salgado

“Yes, he said this guy keep on choking him and he keep on telling him, ‘I can’t breathe. Please let me go. I am not playing.’ He said he had his rifle in his hand, you know and he crank the gun to warn Mr. Cruz, to say I am not playing. I am in danger. I am losing my breath. You need to let me go and I guess the cranking of the gun caused an accident, I am not sure and yes, it went off accidentally.”


Andrea Polanco

“Now, before this incident, did they have any problems with each other, any hard talks?”


Sheree Salgado

“No, when I spoke to him, I asked him if this person was a friend or a colleague. He said, yes, they were all colleagues. According to Jermaine, Clifford was drinking and he came back to the compound with alcohol and was acting different from other days and so that is when the altercation started.”


Reports are that earlier that day, Cruz, who had been with the Volunteer Battalion for six years, received the news that he was going to be promoted to the regular B.D.F. He didn’t live to enjoy his promotion. 

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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11 Responses for “B.D.F. volunteer arraigned for murder; cousin tells his side of the story”

  1. BELIZEAN says:

    It doesnt matter…Its murder, and let him serve the consequences!

  2. Uncle Benji says:

    Hang tough Rhaburn. You did good. You blew the gansta soldier away. Hang tough. You will be exonerated at trial.

  3. impartial says:

    B.S you are on a chokehold and can’t breathe yet you can crank a rifle and shoot? no man! first thing you do by instinct when you can’t breathe is let go of everything and try to get out of the chokehold… BS!

  4. yaya says:

    so true impartial… u wud a better job than those working in the crime investigation force…

  5. Rocket says:

    well i believe that it was self defence cause anyone who know Crus will know that he was a BULLY and we all know that wen we are strolling for our breath we are the must strongest person!!!!!!!

  6. BMNJ says:

    Well, we’ll see what’s the outcome of the investigation. Definitely we’ll not be able to hear the other side of the story.

  7. kimberly joseph says:

    how is parents with other children in the volunteer batalion should feel because its unsafe

  8. Storm says:

    Too bad the other witness can’t tell his version of what happened. He’s dead and gone.

    Besides what was discussed here the other day about whether it is wise to recruit children into the armed forces and give them weapons — by the way, recruiting child soldiers is a “crime against humanity” under the UN, and they have put leaders in prison who have done that — there’s another question to think on.

    Should a 17 year old who kills someone with a military weapon by tried as an adult? Our law to protect juvenile offenders comes from another time, and maybe is still good for non-violent offenses. In modern Belize we have minors working for drug cartels, carrying guns, and murdering in the course of their “business.” GOB NEEDS TO CHANGE THE LAW, AND PROVIDE THAT JUVENILES WHO COMMIT CRIMES WITH FIREARMS CAN BE TRIED AND IMPRISONED LIKE ADULTS.

    What do YOU think?

  9. Aphro says:

    I have worked with Cruz for 4 years at volunteer battalion and he never acted like a bully. He was a careful, determined and successful soldier with leadership qualities. Very true what you said there, impartial. It would be quite a task to cock the rifle while being ‘choked’ and still to aim for the chest (or any other body part for that matter). As a trained soldier of 6 years you hear a rifle being cocked you know it’s serious business and you better take preventative measures not to get shot (here is your moment NOT TO KILL, Mr. Rhaburn). Don’t cock the rifle if you’re not going to kill somebody in your ‘hostile’ environment. Oooops, Militia Hall is not a hostile environment. RIP Cruz.

  10. Aphro says:

    Storm I would suggest to our authorities that 18 be the minimum age for recruit intakes. Aside from jungle survival courses, etc. soldiers are also trained to kill. Not for wimps. It is natural for one to think weapon (i.e. rifle) when the image of ‘soldier’ comes to mind. It is a huge responsibility one takes up when the decision is to become a soldier. Standing orders of the military are published and it is the responsibility of every soldier to familiarize themself and follow through (that’s routine). I think its too late to plead ignorance to ‘what/who is a soldier’… a SOLDIER was murdered by a SOLDIER…a SOLDIER must do the time for the crime. Nack yuh chest Rayban.

  11. ratty says:

    Look out, vampires looking for blood. Remember, murder is murder

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