BELIZE CITY, Wed. Mar. 13, 2019– Andrew Willoughby, 38, who was convicted of the murder of Daniel Matura, 11, was sentenced to life imprisonment today by Madam Justice Marilyn Williams. She told him that he would be eligible for parole in 25 years, and after she took into consideration the time he has spent on remand, which commenced on May 23, 2012, she made a deduction from his sentence, which was reduced to 18 years.
Before she decided on the sentence, Justice Williams heard pleas for mitigation from four character witnesses, and also Willoughby and his attorney, Leeroy Banner.
Matura was shot and killed around 8 a.m. on May 21, 2012. He was running across Central American Boulevard, near his home, when he was struck by two bullets, one in his chest and the other in his arm. He died on the spot.
Willoughby, the shooter, had fired a barrage of gunshots at Brandon Taylor and Roy Felix, who were riding on bicycles past Matura’s residence. Taylor and Felix were unhurt.
Willoughby was convicted of murder by Justice Williams in a trial without a jury on June 19, 2018. At the trial, the Crown, represented by Crown Counsel Rene Montero, had relied mainly on three eyewitnesses who all testified and identified Willoughby as the shooter.
Shortly after the incident, Willoughby had given a statement to the police in which he had admitted that he was the shooter, but at the trial, he said he had not given the statement voluntarily, and that the police beat him and offered him a deal.
A voire dire was held to determine the admissibility of the statement and at the end of it, Justice Williams ruled that Willoughby gave the statement without coercion and she admitted it into evidence.
Willoughby gave a statement from the dock in which he said that he was at his girlfriend’s house at the time of the incident, and that the police picked him up in front of her gate.
But Justice Williams did not believe his alibi statement and found him guilty of murder.
At the sentencing, the Crown was represented by Senior Crown Counsel Christelle Wilson and Crown Counsel Sheringe Rodriguez.