Headline — 08 August 2018 — by Roy Davis (freelance reporter)
Jasper Brannon, 28, accused of double murder, walks

He was one of two persons arraigned for two murders

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 6, 2018– In a ruling he gave today on a no-case-to-answer submission that was made last Wednesday, Justice Adolph Lucas upheld the submission and acquitted Jasper Brannon, 28, of the murder of Frank James, 40, and Robert Young, 50, two men who were shot and killed shortly before 11 p.m. on October 25, 2012 at a dockyard on North Front Street.

Brannon’s attorney, Leslie Hamilton, made the submission after the Crown, represented by Senior Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell, closed its case, having called 10 witnesses. The main witness for the Crown was Kurt Pech, who resides in the  dockyard. Pech testified that Young and James were at the dockyard cleaning fish and lobster when he saw Brannon; his co-accused Ernest Thurton, Jr., 25, aka “Dangalan;” and another man, Eric Martinez, aka “Junior H,” approaching the dockyard on foot.

Pech said Martinez had a gun in his hand and that when the trio arrived at the dockyard, they accused James and Young of stealing a bicycle from a woman, Dorothy Gideon. He said Martinez made Young kneel down, and after he pistol-whipped him with the gun, Thurton took the gun away from him and cocked it.

Pech said that when he realized that things were getting out of hand, he went inside his house, and heard gunshots. He said that when he looked out, he saw James and Young on the ground and the trio running away.

Martinez was called as a witness for the Crown, but he was deemed a hostile witness when he took the stand, denying that he had given a statement to the police.

In his statement, Martinez had said that he begged Thurton not to shoot James and Young, but Thurton still went ahead and shot them.

Justice Lucas said that he upheld the no-case submission because, based on the evidence from the Crown, it was not a case of joint enterprise due to the fact that there was no evidence that Brannon saw the gun when Martinez was carrying it to the dockyard.

The case has been adjourned for tomorrow in order for Thurton’s attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, to present his defense.

Martinez was not charged because he had said that he would cooperate with the police by giving them a statement.

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