Crime — 27 June 2014 — by Rowland A. Parks
Attempted murder charge lands George McKenzie, Jr., 19, in prison

George McKenzie, Jr., the 19-year-old son of deceased gang leader George “Junie Balls” McKenzie, narrowly escaped being remanded to the Belize Central Prison in mid-April when police fingered him for a homicide despite his alibi, which later would compel police to withdraw the murder charge.

Today, however, McKenzie was remanded to prison after being arraigned on attempted murder and other related charges.

McKenzie, along with his attorney Kareem Musa, appeared before newly appointed Magistrate Herbert Panton.

Before Panton could read the charges, however, Musa addressed the court: “I would like for the prosecutor to indicate whether or not this is the same incident that another individual, Albert Robinson, has been charged for. I strongly believe that this is an instance of malicious prosecution,” he said.

The court prosecutor, Corporal Kennard Clarke, replied, saying, “I have no knowledge of the other person. The only matter before the court is that of George McKenzie, Jr.”

Musa then told the court that the reason he asked that question is that he wanted to know whether or not the court was aware that someone had already been charged for the same incident, and that there was no indication so far coming from the police that his client, McKenzie, Jr., and the other accused person are jointly charged.

Musa told the court that the prosecutor has a fiduciary duty to the nation to save the taxpayers’ dollars, because one of the men charged will sue the government for malicious prosecution.

Since the prosecutor could not answer, Panton took a short adjournment before he arraigned McKenzie on the charges.

Panton told McKenzie that the charges are indictable and that he didn’t require a plea from him, and since a firearm was involved, his court could not offer him bail.

McKenzie was remanded to prison until his next court appearance date, August 14.

McKenzie, who is a recent graduate of Maud Williams High School, was charged with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm against Paul Alvarez, Jr.

The incident for which Robinson, and now McKenzie, has been charged, occurred on November 15, 2013, when Alvarez, a car washer and resident of Pinks Alley, was shot.

According to police, around 7:40 p.m. on November 15, Alvarez was walking from his home, but when he reached the corner of Victoria Street and Lovely Lane, a gunman rode up to him and shot him in the face. He was admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Emergency Room in a critical condition. He had to be put on life support, and early reports were that the bullet had damaged his vocal cord and that he may never be able to speak again.

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