Headline — 21 June 2013 — by Albert J. Ciego
Supreme Court witness murdered

The gunman walked into his home, climbed the stairs and shot Delone Vernon, 32, to death

A Supreme Court witness who was scheduled to attend a Supreme Court trial in an attempted murder case, which arose from an incident in which a man attempted to kill him, on October 12, 2012, was murdered in his home at about 8:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17.

Delone Vernon, 32, a father of two sons, 2 and 6 years old, was shot and seriously injured in October, while walking to his workplace at the Youth for the Future on Magazine Road.

This time Vernon was shot in his house while playing a game of cards with family members, a day before the Supreme Court case in which he was to testify commenced.

A gunman went into his home on Sibun Street and shot him in the chest in the presence of the six other people with whom he was socializing.

Witnesses told police that on Monday night, the gunman came into the house, climbed the stairs to the second flat, aimed the gun at Vernon and fired several shots at him, hitting him in the heart, and killing him almost immediately.

His sister-in-law, Sherna Miller, 31, who was in the room, suffered gunshot injuries to her hand and leg. Vernon and Miller were rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where Vernon was declared dead on arrival, and Miller was treated immediately.

Police reports are that the gunman was dressed in black clothes, with a hood over his head. The shooter then ran from the house and disappeared into the surrounding area.

Sherna Miller suffered a fractured arm and has been admitted to ward, while an autopsy has been conducted on the body of Delone Vernon, which certified that his death was caused by a gunshot to his heart. Police said that they are looking for the killer – a person they know.

Dorla Williams, the owner of the house in which Vernon was killed, told Amandala that she was at home about 8:30 that Monday night and she had just taken her medicine, because she was not feeling well. She told Vernon to open the front door to let in her brother.

Her brother came in, and Vernon and her son went up to the upper flat to join the others in a game of cards, and she went to her bed, while her brother sat in the sofa chair by the door watching television.

She said that shortly after, while lying in her bed, gunshots exploded, after which there were screams and confusion. Her brother said that a man opened the door, passed him sitting in the chair by the door, climbed the stairs while taking out a gun from his pants, and began to shoot at the people upstairs.

After he fired about five shots, the gun jammed.

Williams’ brother, who was downstairs, ran to her room and told her that a gunman was in the house and shooting the people upstairs. She opened the door to see what was happening, and the gunman ran down the stairs and out of the house and out the yard, disappearing in the surrounding area.

Her daughter ran from upstairs to her and told her that Sherna and Delone had been shot, and that Delone was dead and Sherna had been shot in her arm and leg.

Williams said that she is angry. On Sunday, a day before her house was attacked, the gunman, who is known to the people in the area, fired several shots at her nephew, who ran into her house. They called the police, but they did not come.

On Monday, she called the police again, and they came. The expended shells the family had picked up in their yard after the gunman had fired at her relative, were handed over to them. She said that the gunman was identified to them, and his name given, and the police departed.

Williams said that the man was not arrested, and that same Monday night, her house was attacked. She said that if the police had arrested the gunman, there would not have been the shooting and the murder that occurred later.

As a result of the violent home invasion and murder, the family is devastated. The family members do not want to sleep in their room on the second floor. There is anger and disbelief, and others are contemplating moving away from the area. Williams said that the brazen attack has given them a sense of insecurity, and they are not sure what will happen next: there is little help from police.

Vernon’s brother, Windell, told Amandala that he had advised his brother to get out of the Sibun Street area where he lived, because it was too dangerous. They are all saddened, he said, by the death of his brother.

Delone Vernon was working at the Youth for the Future as an office assistant. His co-worker said that he gave positive values to the youth and other members of the staff, and he was driven to succeed, in addition to being easy to get along with, and friendly.

Since joining Youth for the Future in March 2009, Vernon had made a complete change in his life. He went back to school and graduated from the Gwen Liz High School Adult Program, and had applied, and been accepted for further studies at the University of Belize. He would have entered the UB program in August.

The worker said that Vernon was very happy and excited that he had been accepted by UB, and that on Monday, they were to attend training and he had come well-dressed, but the training was cancelled due to inclement weather.

She said that she sat in a chair in the lobby of their building, and watched him get into a vehicle, then he turned and waved at her, and that was the last time she saw him alive. She said that she broke down when she got the message that he had been murdered. They, the staff, and members of the Youth for the Future are mourning his death.

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