BELIZE CITY, Tues. Feb. 20, 2018– Last Friday, the trial of a man who has been accused of gunning down a police corporal while that corporal was executing his duty in Hattieville, in July 2012, began in the Supreme Court of Justice Adolph Lucas, who is hearing the case without a jury.
On the night of July 25, 2012, Corporal Victor Lima, 35, along with two police constables, in response to a report made to them, went to a house near the location of the Mennonite Primary School in Hattieville. All three police officers were armed and when they approached the house, Corporal Lima announced “police,” and when the front door swung open, a dark-complexioned man, who was later identified as Delford Slusher, answered the door with a blazing .9mm pistol, with which he shot Corporal Lima twice.
Lima was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, but after two surgeries were performed on him, he died two days later. Slusher was charged for his murder.
Slusher is being defended by attorney Anthony Sylvestre.
At the opening of the trial, Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell, who is leading the Crown’s evidence, called scenes of crime technician Jason Reneau as the Crown’s first witness.
Reneau testified that he had gone to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital morgue, to witness the post-mortem exam that was performed by police pathologist, Dr. Mario Estradabran, on Corporal Lima’s body. Reneau also told the court that he observed bullet holes in the chest area of the deceased.
“Dr. Estradabran handed me a slug that he took from the body. I sent this to the forensic lab on a later date,” Reneau said in his testimony.
On Monday, the Crown called Police Constable Dorian Zuniga to the witness stand.
Zuniga testified that on the night in question, he heard shots ring out and he took up a shooting position outside the house where the police had gone to investigate a complaint.
“When I flashed my light, I saw a dark-skin male person. I saw his face. It’s someone I have seen regularly in the village,” Zuniga answered to a question from Lovell, on whether he had seen the person before.
“I fired two shots in the direction of the person. He then took off in the bushes toward the Mennonite Primary School area,” Zuniga testified.
Zuniga went on to testify that after he fired the two shots, he moved from the side of the house. “I made my way to Corporal Victor Lima from the back of the building. I did that for my safety. When I got to the front of the house, I saw Corporal Lima lying face down on the ground,” he said.
Zuniga further related, “I asked him ‘What happened, Squad?’ ‘I got shot’,” he answered.
“During that time I saw four red spots on his uniform shirt. He took out his cell phone and he said to me, ‘Squad, please call for help.’ I called the police station,” Zuniga testified.
Zuniga told the court that he called the police station and spoke to Special Constable Grant, to whom he relayed the message that they needed help for the corporal who had been shot.
Zuniga said that after he was finished with the call to the station, he called out for Police Constable Peterson.
“I called for him like three times, and he later came out from behind one of the trees. I told him to stay with Corporal Victor Lima, so that I could get help. About ten minutes later, Corporal Gonzalez (I cannot remember his first name) arrived along with Special Constable Robert Grant and PC Choco. We then placed Corporal Lima in the vehicle,” Zuniga testified.
Lovell called her third witness late this morning, Tuesday, in the person of Police Constable Edward Peterson.
Peterson testified that he was at the Hattieville Police Station in July 2012, when two men — Ori Weir and Godwin Bowen — arrived at the station to make a complaint.
“After they made their report, Corporal Lima, PC Zuniga and I armed ourselves. Corporal Lima had a .38 revolver, PC Zuniga had a .9mm pistol and I had a pump action 12-gauge shotgun. The three of us then headed to the Mennonite area of Hattieville. Ori Weir and Godwin Brown showed Corporal Lima an unpainted cement house. Corporal Lima immediately approached the front door of the said house,” he said.
Peterson testified that the two complainants, Weir and Brown, also approached the front door of the house, along with Corporal Lima.
“PC Zuniga and I remained behind the right side of the building…Where Corporal Lima was standing there was a light bulb affixed to the upper area of the front door of the house. This made visibility good. The distance between where I was standing and where the corporal was standing was about 25 feet. I then heard Corporal Lima said, ‘police, police.’ I immediately heard someone opening the door. The door pulled open and a dark-skinned man who was wearing a cap, undershirt and a dark ¾ pants came out the house with a .9mm firearm and fired two shots in the direction of Corporal Lima.
“Corporal Lima fell to the ground. Two persons ran out the house towards the front yard, in my direction. The dark man ran behind them. After that I heard shots fired and I cranked my 12-gauge shotgun and pointed it toward the door. The dark man then ran to the side of the building in an easterly direction,” Peterson testified.
The trial continues tomorrow, Thursday.