BELIZE CITY, Tues. May 29, 2018– On each day of his trial in court, Albert Reid, 28, aka “Cat”, charged with the murder of Maurice “Tuco” Young, 57, had a Bible in his hand. If he was praying for his freedom, it appears that today his prayers were answered, because the trial judge, Justice Colin Williams, found him not guilty of murder.
It was a trial without a jury and the evidence from the Crown was purely circumstantial. Young, a resident of Santana, Belize District, who lived alone, was killed on May 17, 2014. His body was found three days later at the back of his yard by his, Young’s, neighbor, Ancelma Reid. There were chop wounds on his head, face and neck.
A post-mortem examination performed on the spot by Dr. Mario Estradabran certified that Young’s death resulted from the wound on his neck, which had severed his trachea.
The Crown, represented by Crown Counsel Killeru Awich, had relied mainly on the testimonies of two witnesses, Benjamin Reid and Tyrone Reid, both of them brothers of the accused, Albert Reid. They testified that on the night of the incident, Albert Reid told them that he just “shub” down somebody, and they saw their brother wiping blood off a 12-inch knife that belonged to Young (the knife was not tendered in evidence by police).
They also testified that the accused wanted them to hide the knife in a cement block.
But Justice Williams found them not to be credible witnesses. At the end of the case, Reid’s attorney, Herbert Panton, submitted that he did not have a case to answer.
However, Justice Williams did not uphold the submission. Justice Williams told Reid, of the three choices he had.
Reid could testify from the witness stand; he could give a statement from the dock; or he could remain silent. If he chose to testify, he could be cross-examined by the Crown. If he gave a statement from the dock, the Crown would not be able to cross-examine him. His testimony would carry more weight, however, than a statement by him from the dock.
Reid chose to remain silent. The Crown called a total of 11 witnesses at the trial, which lasted about 3 weeks.