Headline — 21 July 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Trial begins of 2 men accused of murdering attorney Richard Stuart and his wife

The gruesome murders occurred between the night of October 16 and morning of October 17, 2010

BELIZE CITY, Wed. July 18, 2018– Two men, Eli Lopez Avila and Milton Maza, accused of the 2010 double murder of attorney Richard Stuart and his accountant wife, Maria Stuart, appeared this morning in the court of Supreme Court Justice Colin Williams, who will begin to hear their case without a jury.

Richard and Maria Stuart were savagely stabbed to death in their West Landivar home between the night of October 16 and morning of October 17, 2010.

The Stuarts had returned home from attending a social event, and whoever killed them had apparently got into their home and waited for them. They were attacked on the second floor of their three-storey mansion, located on Graduate Crescent, a quiet suburban neighborhood.

Stuart and his wife were reportedly stabbed a total of 25 times each, and they were found lying face-up in a pool of blood. There was no evidence that the home had been burglarized. It is believed that the murderer(s) entered the home through a third floor window.

The Stuarts’ four children and their housekeeper were on the third floor of the house when the murders occurred. The housekeeper called 911 after she heard the screams of her employers coming from the second floor.

Police homicide investigators moved swiftly and eventually arrested and charged a Hispanic man who was found driving Stuart’s Toyota Scion, in St. Matthews Village. The man gave police a statement that led investigators to the arrest of his alleged accomplice.

Both men are reportedly of Guatemalan nationality, although one of them is said to be a naturalized Belizean.

Court records confirm that one of the two accused had given police a caution statement.

Amandala inquired about which of the two Crown Counsels, Kileru Awich and Rene Montero, Jr., will lead the evidence in the trial, and why it took so long for the case to come up.

We were told that the accused men could not find attorneys to represent them, because “no one wanted the job, even if they were paying,” and a murder trial cannot proceed without the accused person or persons being represented by counsel.

The court appointed attorney Leroy Banner to represent Lopez Avila, and attorney Oscar Selgado to represent Maza. When the case came up this morning, however, Selgado did not appear in Justice Williams’ court.

Justice Williams did not take kindly to Selgado’s absence, and voiced concern about that, and the fact that such a long time had elapsed before the case was brought to court. Among the remarks Justice Williams made in open court was that this was an injustice to the accused, as well as to the families of the victims and the society at large.

The remarks of the judge had to be communicated to the two accused through the court’s Spanish interpreter, because they speak little or no English.

The prosecution is expected to call about 20 witnesses to testify at the trial, which had to be adjourned this afternoon due to a countrywide power outage.

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Deshawn Swasey

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