General — 18 April 2018 — by Roy Davis (freelance reporter)
Judge reserves judgment for Wilser Echeverria, charged with murder of Panamanian ambassador to Belize

BELMOPAN, Mon. Apr. 16, 2018– In the Belmopan Supreme Court, Justice Antoinette Moore, on Friday, April 13, reserved her decision for May 25 in regards to the guilt or innocence of Wilser Echeverria, 23, charged with the murder of Jose De La Rosa Stanford, 64, the Panamanian ambassador to Belize, whose throat was slashed on Sunday morning, November 23, 2013.

According to the evidence that was presented at the trial that was without a jury, Stanford met Echeverria at the bus terminal in Belmopan and invited him for a drink. Echeverria accepted the invitation and Stanford drove him to a remote area in Belmopan.

Echeverria, in a statement he gave to the police and in a statement he gave from the dock, said that Stanford began to make sexual advances to him and when he resisted, a struggle ensued between them.

Echeverria said that during the struggle, Stanford managed to pull his pants down and began to choke him.

Echeverria said that while Stanford was choking him, he grabbed a blade that was in Stanford’s SUV and slashed his throat. Stanford’s body was found later the same day.

The statement Echeverria gave to the police was admitted as evidence.

Echeverria was found with Stanford’s vehicle and his cellular phone the following day.

At the trial, which lasted three days, Echeverria was represented by attorneys Simeon Sampson and Arthur Saldivar. The Crown was represented by attorney Leeroy Banner, who was appointed special prosecutor.

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