Highlights — 16 May 2014
Budna gets 30 more years

The Guatemalan press is reporting that Joseph Budna, 33, the Belizean recently recaptured by Guatemalan authorities after he escaped the custody of two guards at a hospital in Zacapa, Guatemala, in April, has been handed an additional sentence of 30 years on another allegation of kidnapping and extortion.

Prensa Libre reports that Budna was sentenced today, Tuesday, by El Tribunal de Sentencia Penal de Zacapa, to 30 years for the kidnapping of a victim for which a demand of a million quetzals (equivalent to BZ$258,784.67) was made, but the report said that after negotiations, the family paid 40,000 quetzales (equivalent to BZ$10,351.39).

Budna has been serving time on a 25-year conviction handed down last year for the kidnapping of a US teenager, Luis Byron Reyes Onofre, back in August 2012. The report did not say whether Budna’s 30-year sentence will run concurrently or consecutively with his prior 25-year sentence.

Budna also faced charges of kidnapping against Kevin Pacheco and kidnapping and abduction against Herson Abimael Palma. Budna has been on trial for the Pacheco case, but we have received no indication whether the conviction handed down Tuesday was in connection with the crimes allegedly committed against any of these two men.

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