Headline — 08 September 2018 — by Roy Davis (freelance reporter)
3 Staine brothers on trial for murder

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Sept. 5, 2018– Three brothers are on trial before Justice Adolph Lucas for the murder of Denver Villafranco, 23, a BDF volunteer who was fatally stabbed around 7 p.m. on January 17, 2015, at the corner of Sunflower Street and Complex Avenue.

The three accused men are Phil Staine, 45; Orlando Staine, 41; and Kareem Staine, 37. It is a trial without a jury and it began on Monday, September 3, with the Crown, represented by Crown Counsel Portia Ferguson, stating the 5 elements that the Crown has to prove to get a murder conviction.

She said the Crown has to prove that Villafranco is dead, that he died from harm, that the harm was unlawful, that it was the accused persons who inflicted the harm and that when they did so, their sole intention was to kill.

Ferguson has called 6 witnesses so far, all of them formal witnesses, and it is quite doubtful that the eyewitnesses, two sisters who were minors at the time of the incident, are going to testify. That may be so because their father, Anthony Hemsley, took the witness stand today and testified that he had a conversation by telephone with his daughters, who are in the United States, and they told him that they are not coming to Belize to testify at the trial.
The brothers are being represented by attorney Bryan Neal.

According to the evidence the Crown intends to adduce, Villafranco, who resided on Police Street, was walking past the house of the accused men when he was approached by them and a fight ensued between him and them.

Villafranco was beaten and stabbed in the abdomen and he was left lying in a drain while the accused men sped away in a black truck. Villafranco was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he died shortly afterwards. He was the father of one child, a five-year-old daughter.

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