Crime Headline — 05 August 2014 — by Rowland A. Parks
One remanded for murder of tacos vendors

This morning, a Belize City man was charged with two counts of murder and other related indictable offences in connection with a home invasion that turned fatal for two tacos vendors on the morning of July 26, when two armed men stormed into their Mopan Street home, robbed and then shot the four persons who were at home.

Khaleel Ponce, 21, an unemployed laborer, did not have to enter any plea, as Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith read a total of eight indictable offences to him.

Ponce stood silent in court after Smith read the first charge of murder to him and asked him if he understood what she had just read.

“Yes, I understand,” Ponce replied, before falling silent as the arraignment proceeded.

Police charged him for the murder of Carlos Mayorga, 52, and Alida Asencio, 42.

Ponce was also charged with two counts of attempted murder for Sejhan Avila, 21, and Karina Avila, 19.

Police also charged Ponce with two counts of dangerous harm against Sejhan Avila and Karina Avila and two counts of use of deadly means of harm.

Ponce was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court date on October 1.

As police led Ponce out of the courtroom toward the court’s holding cell, he snapped at court reporters who were photographing him, saying, “I innocent. I no want unno di tek my picture.”

Sometime around 5:00 on the morning of Saturday, July 26, police from Precinct 1 responded to shots being fired at 47 Mopan Street.

When police arrived at the location, they found that four persons had been shot – three women and a man.

The persons at the house were all Honduran nationals, who were up early in the morning to prepare meat for tacos that they sell in the vicinity of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and at other locations around the city.

The man, Carlos Mayorga, a food vendor, was discovered in his bedroom. He was in a kneeling position near his bed and had apparent gunshot wounds to the back of his neck and his left shoulder. Mayorga was already dead when police arrived at the house.

Police also found another food vendor, Alida Asencio, suffering from gunshot wounds to her abdomen and to the left side of her chest.

Asencio was rushed to the KHMH, where she was admitted in a critical condition. After being hospitalized for two and a half days, Asencio died.

Karina Avila was shot in the left arm, and Sejhan Avila suffered gunshot wounds to the left side of the chest and abdomen.

The two gunmen who invaded the home of the food vendors demanded money and Mayorga opened a locker inside his bedroom and handed them approximately $2,000.

The thieves ordered him to give them more money, but Mayorga had no more to give. He was shot as he knelt at the locker from which he had taken the money to give to the thieves. The gunman then turned his gun on the three women.

Following the shootings, the gunmen escaped into the early morning.

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