General — 13 February 2016 — by Rowland A. Parks
Darrell Mayen found guilty of attempted murder

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 11, 2016–A man who has been on remand for an attempted murder charge since August 2010, when he was a sixteen-year-old minor, will learn on Friday, February 19, how much longer he will have to spend behind bars after he was found guilty of the charge in a trial without jury before Supreme Court Justice John Troadio Gonzalez, who handed down the guilty verdict this afternoon.

Darrell Mayen, 21, did his best to look away from court reporters’ cameras as he was led in handcuffs back to the holding cell over at the Magistrate’s Court by a Supreme Court orderly.

Meanwhile, Mayen’s attorney, Oscar Selgado, declined comment to reporters. Selgado would only say that he will appeal Justice Gonzalez’s guilty verdict.

On the night of Sunday, August 1, 2010, shortly before 9:00 p.m., Rafael Caceres, then 27, had just spoken to his girlfriend, April Slusher, on his cellphone after making a purchase from a Chinese store. He was walking on Woodpecker Street toward his home on Madam Liz Crescent in the Port Loyola area of Belize City, he told police in a statement, when, about 15 yards away from Jimmy Dyer Street, he felt as if someone was following him.

Caceres said that when he looked behind, he “saw a man riding a small bicycle, similar to a BMX bicycle.”

The male who was following Caceres was wearing a hat which was partially hiding his face.

Caceres said that some light fell on the person’s face and he recognized him as Darrell Mayen, whom he had known for about two to three months prior to that night.

Caceres said he knew Mayen because he used to visit his house and was friendly with his little brother.

Caceres was about to be attacked, even as his house came into sight. Mayen allegedly pulled out a silver handgun, and Caceres decided that he would hurl a soft drink bottle that he had in a plastic bag in his hand at Mayen.

Mayen was about 7 to 8 feet away from Caceres and riding slowly toward him, when Caceres decided to throw the soft drink bottle at him, hitting him somewhere on his hand.

“Immediately the gun went off. I turned and started to run toward my house,” Caceres recalled. “I was running in a zigzag fashion. As I ran, I saw the spark (from the bullets) on the pavement,” he stated.

Caceres said he heard about four gunshots as he jumped over a drain in an effort to escape his attacker.

“That is the time I felt a pain in my back. I then fell in the drain. Fearing that Darrell would come to finish kill me, I started to shout for help. That is when I saw some neighbors,” Caceres said.

Caceres explained that his brother came to his aid and took him to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

A total of five witnesses testified for the prosecution’s case, which was presented by Crown Counsel Sheiniza Smith.

In his own defense, Mayen gave a testimony in which he told the court that he was at home when Caceres was shot. And then to back up his alibi, he called his mother, Tanisha Cleland, as a witness.

Cleland’s testimony, however, did not help Mayen’s defense. In her testimony, Cleland was unable to state to the court with certainty that Mayen was indeed at home, as he had claimed.

The maximum penalty for attempted murder in extreme cases is life in prison.

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