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Accused killer of Wilbert Banks charged

GeneralAccused killer of Wilbert Banks charged

Photo: Wilbert Banks, Jr., deceased

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 8, 2024

The Cycling Federation of Belize (CFB) and the cycling community along with the staff of Ordonez Bike Shop are mourning the sudden, tragic death of a very close member of their family, Wilbert Banks, Jr., who was murdered on Friday night in the Lake Gardens Community area.

Today, three days after the murder, police have arrested and charged a well-known criminal figure, 34-year-old Krismar Espinosa, of 10 1/2 Miles on the Philip Goldson Highway. Espinosa, the man police believe is the murderer, has been charged before for murder, and he was convicted for manslaughter, incarcerated and served time and recently exited prison after years in jail.

At around 9:00 this morning, Espinosa was escorted to court in a mobile by Ladyville Police, and sometime after 12:00 noon, he appeared unrepresented before a Magistrate to answer to the charge of murder, for shooting and killing Wilbert Banks, Jr., on Friday, April 5, 2024.

Espinosa appeared before a sitting Magistrate in Court #5 where he was read the single charge of murder. No plea was taken from him, and, due to the nature of the offense he was denied bail and remanded into custody at the Belize Central Prison until June 6, 2024.

Around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Banks was driving on the Lake Gardens Road in the Ladyville area, Belize District, heading towards the Philip Goldson Highway, when a gunman shot him several times, after which he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a house.

According to the police report, on Friday, April 5, 2024 at about 11:35 p.m., information was received of shots fired in the old Northern Highway area of Lake Gardens, and based on that, Ladyville Police CIB visited house #92 in that area where they saw a black and grey 4-door Toyota Rav-4 with license plate, PC-78065.

Inside the vehicle, seated in the driver’s seat and slouched over with apparent bullet holes to his body, was a male of brown complexion who was dressed in a white shirt and a multicolor 3/4 checkered pants.

The driver’s identity was later learnt to be Wilbert Banks, Jr., 38, a resident of #67 Euphrates Avenue, Belize City.

Police who visited the scene of the crash/murder retrieved nine 9mm expended shells and a black cellphone.

The body of Banks, Jr. was taken to the KHMH where a doctor pronounced him dead on arrival at 2:00 a.m.

Banks, Jr.’s sudden death is being mourned especially in the cycling community, as he was the driver for Andrew Ordonez during live broadcasts of races by the Cycling Federation of Belize.

Banks, Jr.’s brother, Kadeem Banks was killed along with Edison Usher in a traffic accident while covering the Women’s Cross Country two years ago.

On Saturday night, a candlelight vigil was held in memory of Wilbert Banks, Jr., in front of his home.

Krismar Espinosa, the accused shooter, was also accused of the murder of Rachel Chun, which had occurred between September 14-15, 2007 in Orange Walk.

On June 3, 2015, Espinosa was convicted of manslaughter. On June 18, 2015 he was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment; however, 7 years 9 months, for time spend on remand, was deducted from the 16 years, leaving him with a little over eight more years to serve, which he concluded recently and was out of prison.

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