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Aug 17, 2006

Press Office photographer killed following family dispute

Story PictureBelize boasts a growing corps of media workers … but despite its steady expansion over the last decade the number of journalists, editors, cameramen and other technicians is still small enough to fit on a single bus. Tonight unfortunately, one long-time member of that crew, instead of covering the story, is its subject.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
The mood was somber inside the Belize press office as the small staff tried to cope with the murder of their senior photographer and the man who also serves as official photographer of the Prime Minister.

Thirty-nine year old Norman Belisle was stabbed to the back and behind the right ear following a domestic dispute at his residence in Camalote Village. This afternoon the lead investigator in the case, Sinquest Martinez, returned to the crime scene to further interview family members. Martinez says the killing occurred some thirty minutes after the police first responded around ten twenty on Wednesday night following a report of a domestic dispute between Belisle and his wife Veronica Belisle.

Sinquest Martinez, Lead Investigator
?The police were called out pertaining to a domestic dispute. Police responded and police acted upon the complainant. Police did go and within twenty-five or thirty minutes they were called back. The deceased came back to the house and that is when police saw him suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to the Western Regional hospital.?

Belisle died while undergoing treatment.

Jacqueline Godwin
?Was he able to speak to the police??

Sinquest Martinez
?He was able to speak to the police, but he didn?t speak to the police at that moment.?

Jacqueline Godwin
?So was he able to provide police with information about exactly what transpired??

Sinquest Martinez
?Not totally what transpired, but he could have provided much more information to the police.?

Jacqueline Godwin
?We understand that an altercation occurred after Mr. Belisle returned to the residents. We understand that this physical confrontation occurred between a number of the family members.?

Sinquest Martinez
?It is not a matter of a number of family members ? it was just the Belisle family. There were no other family, a part from the Belisle family that was involved, and as we speak I don?t want to emphasize on that at this present moment because the investigation is still going on.?

It is reported that shortly after Belisle returned home a fight occurred and it was during this confrontation that the wife?s nephew, identified as twenty-two year old Alex Matute, reportedly came over to the house to find out what was happening. It is Matute police believe inflicted the stab wounds as Belisle stood on the verandah.

Sinquest Martinez
?It is a very sticky situation for the complainant at this moment, for it is for her husband and nephew in between. It was just one family involved. It is not a big family. It is not like eight or nine grown persons, they were kids. They cannot restrain their dad.?

Police say family members have not been cooperating. The murder weapon, believed to be a knife, remains missing. Up until the time of his death Norman Belisle had been with the Belize Press Office for close to ten years. He leaves behind five children.

Norman Belisle’s photographic skills were recently displayed in a December 2005 exhibition at the Image Factory. Some of the major events he covered include state visits by the Taiwanese Premier and Mexican President, the Marion Jones tour and numerous national journeys of the prime minister.

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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