LADYVILLE, Belize District, Sun. July 19, 2020– Police have begun an investigation into the murder of Egbert Baldwin, 23, a Ladyville resident, and the wounding of Ronald Cole, 44, on Jackson Avenue in Ladyville on Saturday night, July 18, at about 9:30.
Cole, also a Ladyville resident, had been walking on the road at the same time that Baldwin was shot, and was hit in the leg by a stray bullet.
When police went to the scene of the shooting, they found Baldwin with gunshot wounds in the head and chest. Both men were taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), where Baldwin was declared dead on arrival and Cole was admitted in a stable condition.
The murder of Baldwin took place just two days after he was found not guilty in the Supreme Court on Thursday of attempted murder and murder, and exited the court a free man.
Initial investigations indicate that Baldwin was walking on Jackson Avenue last night when an unknown person shot him.
Police believe that the murder was an act of retaliation after Baldwin escaped conviction for the shooting of three men in Ladyville.
Baldwin was initially charged jointly with another man for the attempted murder of Terrence Flowers, Casey Lozano and Lyndon Gillett. The shooting of the three men occurred while the men were socializing in a yard on Compassion Lane in Ladyville on the night of May 13, 2016.
Police said that on that night three gunmen went to the yard and fired at the men, who were all hit. A search of the area led to the discovery of a man, Lionel Rhamdas, 21, dead in the bushes. He is believed to have been one of the gunmen.
Casey Lozano died about a month later in the KHMH, so the charge was upgraded to murder.
Lozano had given police a statement before he died, identifying the two gunmen, and police’s investigation led to Egbert Baldwin and another man, identified as Darwin Lyndon Prado, 19.
(Terrence Flowers, one of the shooting victims, told the Director of Public Prosecutions that he did not want court action and would not be a part of the case.)
Baldwin and Prado were jointly charged with attempted murder and remanded. Their Supreme Court trial began on Monday, July 13, before Justice Colin Williams, who was sitting without a jury.
Oscar Selgado, attorney for Baldwin and Prado, told the court that the prosecution did not properly connect the two men to the shootings, because a proper identification parade was not carried out to identify and confirm that these men were indeed the two men that had been seen by the shooting victims, one of whom had said that he had been drinking and could not identify the shooters.
Although Casey Lozano gave a statement, his identification was not solid because there had been poor lighting in the area where the shooting occurred, and they only saw the shooters at a glance, which is not sufficient for certain identification.
Selgado declared the identification of the two men as erroneous, and moved for a no-case-to- answer submission.
After reviewing the evidence submitted by the defense and the Crown, Justice Williams agreed with Selgado and upheld the no-case-to-answer submission. As a result, Baldwin was acquitted, while Prado remains in custody. He will be tried for the death of Lionel Rhamdas, who was found dead in the bushes on Compassion Lane, where the shooting occurred.
The prosecutor in the case was Senior Crown Counsel Shanice Lovelle, and she was assisted by Romi Wade.