Headline — 13 May 2017 — by Rowland A. Parks
“The devil made me steal,”  man tells magistrate

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 11, 2017–A man who yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, pleaded guilty to committing a robbery while armed with a knife, and who told the court that he had committed the robbery because, in his words, “from I was a little boy, mi ma seh dem obeah me. The devil made me do it,” has escaped from police custody.

Yesterday, after pleading guilty “with an explanation,” Harrison Powell, 48, who is also known as Harrison Myvett, told Magistrate Carlon Mendoza that he did not want to waste the court’s time, so he was pleading guilty to the offense. He was sentenced to five years in prison for the crime.


Harrison Powell, 48, was sentenced to 5 years for armed robbery, but escaped from police


When he was being taken to prison yesterday to begin serving his sentence, however, prison officials did not accept his entry as an inmate, because he had complained about a medical condition and he was taken to the prison without any medical papers.

This morning, police escorted Powell to the Cleopatra White Polyclinic so that he could get medical attention before being taken back to prison. The police officer escorting Powell decided to take the handcuffs off him at the clinic, and consequently, Powell disappeared from the clinic, and is now being sought by police.

Powell, when he is captured, will have more time added to his 5-year sentence, because police will charge him for escape.

In court yesterday, when Magistrate Mendoza had asked Powell for his explanation as to why he committed the robbery, Powell, in a barely audible voice, asked the magistrate to “have leniency,” although the hearing was not at the mitigation stage as yet.

When Sergeant Claude Pitts had finished reading the police report and the prosecution’s facts of the case, and Magistrate Mendoza had asked Powell if he agreed with what the court prosecutor had just read, Powell said he agreed.

Magistrate Mendoza, then asked Powell how he committed the robbery, and he answered, “with a big kitchen knife.”

The next few minutes of the hearing were spent looking up the necessary provision of the most recent amendment to law which stipulates the sentence for armed robbery. Magistrate Mendoza read the section and it spelled out a five-year minimum prison sentence.

Magistrate Mendoza pronounced the five-year-sentence on Powell, who, two years ago, had finished serving a prison sentence for handling stolen goods. So, with a conviction for a crime of dishonesty, Magistrate Mendoza told Powell that he did not qualify for leniency.

Powell, nevertheless, said, “thank you,” to Magistrate Mendoza as the court orderly led him away to begin serving his sentence, which began on Wednesday.

A report made to police on Tuesday, May 9, by Nazli DeSilva, 57, a manager, said that she came ashore at Fish Island dock on Marine Parade Boulevard. DeSilva told police that she had her purple bag on her shoulder and was walking toward her car when a man, unknown to her, held her up by putting a knife in her back. He then cut her bag from off her shoulder.

DeSilva said she screamed out and a police mobile patrol in the area went in pursuit of her attacker. Police apprehended Powell with all the items that DeSilva later identified as being her property.

The purple bag that Powell cut from DeSilva’s shoulder contained her iPad, a Samsung Galaxy S7 cell phone, her $200 reading glasses and US$500 in various denominations, all of which totaled $4,200 in value.

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