Crime — 01 November 2013 — by Rochelle Gillett – Flowers
Roger Hernandez, Alton Bailey and Roque Middleton charged with Jorge Blanco’s murder

Hernandez, Bailey, and Middleton also charged with robbery, while Frank Elijio is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery

Tonight, Roger Hernandez, 35, Alton Bailey, 21, Roque Middleton, 25, and Frank Elijio, 33, are on remand at the Belize Central Prison after they were arraigned late this evening on murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, handling stolen goods and drug trafficking charges.

All the charges except for the drug trafficking stem from the October 25 murder of Jose Blanco, 61, and the robbery of Johann Penner, at a speed bump in Sandhill. According to police, at 12:30 Friday afternoon, Blanco, Penner, Abraham and Gerhard Penner were travelling in their delivery truck after making chicken deliveries in the area when the driver of the truck, Blanco, was shot under his left armpit, killing him instantly and causing the truck to swerve off the road.

When the truck came to a stop, someone came to the driver side door, opened it, and Blanco fell out of the truck onto the pavement. That person then ordered the men out of the vehicle and demanded their money, which was handed over to him. He, along with two men who had been standing by the bump, then escaped into the swampy area of the village.

When the men appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, they were unrepresented, and Elijio was the first to be charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and handling stolen goods after he was allegedly found with $4,305 from Johann Penner on October 26; he was also charged for drug trafficking, since he was found with 61 grams of suspected cannabis.

Elijio pleaded not guilty to the charges, but objections were made against the granting of bail to him due to the prevalence of the crime he committed, the seriousness of it, and the strength of the prosecution’s case which it tied to the murder investigation of Blanco.

Hernandez, Bailey and Middleton were next to be arraigned, and they were charged with Blanco’s murder and the robbery of $9,600 from Johann Penner.

All four men were remanded to the Belize Central Prison after the objection to Elijio’s bail was upheld, and it was made clear that bail could not be offered to the others due to the nature of the crime. The men are scheduled to reappear in court on December 16, 2013.

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