General — 18 October 2017
Justice Lucas to issue ruling in BDF Militia Hall killing

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 16, 2017–Closing arguments were made today in the trial of Jermaine Rhaburn, 22, a Belize Defence Force volunteer soldier who has been accused of killing another volunteer soldier, Clifford Cruz, 21, with an AR-15 assault rifle on the compound of Militia Hall on October 1, 2012.

The incident occurred in the guardroom of the building, which is located around Mile 1 on the George Price Highway, opposite Lord Ridge Cemetery.

Rhaburn was tried in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas, who heard the case sitting alone without a jury. Justice Lucas has set October 24 as the date when he will give his decision.

At the time of the shooting, Rhaburn was a 17-year-old volunteer soldier who was on guard duty with a loaded assault rifle which he used to shoot Cruz once in the stomach.

The Crown’s evidence was led by Crown Counsel Sheringe Rodriguez. Rhaburn was defended by attorneys Leroy Banner and Deshawn Arzu.

In her closing arguments today, Rodriguez told the court that Rhaburn intended to kill Cruz, because he cocked the rifle three times, and he was certain that a bullet was in the chamber before he pulled the trigger.

Rodriguez, in an effort to prove the Crown’s case against Rhaburn, called an eyewitness, Felicia Fuller.

In her testimony, Fuller told the court that when she entered the room the deceased was holding the accused around his neck, in a chokehold position. It was when the deceased released the accused that he was shot with the rifle.

Banner’s address focused on self-defense, and this was buttressed by a dock statement given by Rhaburn, who explained that he was held from behind in a choke-hold and that he was gasping for air and was in fear for his life.

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