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Court hears mitigation pleas for 3 convicted murderers

HeadlineCourt hears mitigation pleas for 3 convicted murderers

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb. 11, 2019– Three men who have been convicted in the Supreme Court of Justice Colin Williams for a murder in 2012 were in court this morning for a mitigation hearing as part of their sentencing phase. In addition, the Crown also presented the victims’ impact statements, which were read into the record at today’s hearing.

Justice Williams has adjourned the sentencing hearing to Monday, March 4, when the convicted men —Andy Forbes, 36; Williams Vasquez, 35; and Tyrone Clinton Harris, 32, will learn how much more time will be added to the almost 7 years they have already spent in lockdown for the June 2012 murder of Joseph Meyers, 21.

Myers was socializing with friends at Living Hope Primary School, located on Maskall Street, when his life was cut short by a barrage of gunfire from the convicted men who crept up from behind and discharged their weapons with cruel precision.

Four persons sustained gunshot injuries from the murderous firing, but Meyers was the only fatality.

   The three convicts were identified as the shooters and in October 2018, they were convicted of Meyers’ murder.

Bishop Rene Henderson from Cross-in Ministry appeared in court and made mitigation pleas for Andy Forbes, whose sister is Henderson’s wife.

Bishop Henderson requested permission from Justice Williams to say a short prayer before beginning his mitigation plea.

In the prisoner’s dock, the three convicted men sat with their heads bowed as Bishop Henderson prayed in open court.

Bishop Henderson explained that he has known Forbes for about two years and described him as honoring and obedient to his instructions.

According to the bishop, Forbes has grown in character and he told the court that he continually encourages him to speak the truth.

Bishop Henderson also spoke on Harris’ behalf, whom he described as having trouble following instructions.

Harris is from the South Side Gangsters, Bishop Henderson observed, and has an aptitude for music.

Harris has a hunger for life and does not want to live the life he lived before entering the prison, Bishop Henderson told the court.

Icitadel Flowers also spoke on Forbes’ behalf, saying that she raised him since he was only 10 months old, when his mother went to the United States.

Flowers explained that Forbes is the father of six children, whom he was taking very good care of before the murder.

Flowers, who is also Vasquez’s mother, said that her son has three children of his own. Vasquez’s mother described him as a kind person who would give his last to someone. “We used to call him Santa Claus because everybody used to go to him for help,” Flowers told the court.

Sherlyn Fitzgibbon, Vasquez’s sister, also spoke on his behalf. Fitzgibbon said she is related to the three convicts and described Vasquez as a “good father” to his children.

Fitzgibbon also told the court that it’s not fair that the three convicts have been locked up for almost 7 years.

Christal Palacio, Clinton Harris’ sister, said that out of the seven children that their parents have, he is the 5th child, and since their mother died in 2009, her brother was the one who took care of them and even paid for her to complete her schooling.

“He is serious about everything he does, so I am asking the court to show leniency on him,” Palacio urged the court.

Crown Counsel Kileru Awich read the victims’ impact statement from Keisha Coye, Joseph Meyers’s sister.

Coye said that since her brother was murdered, life for her mother has never been the same again. “She has become heartbroken,” Coye said in her statement, “Joseph was my mother’s youngest child.”
Meyers had a one year-old daughter when he was murdered, and all she has now is pictures of her father, she said.

Joseph Meyers died in the arms of one of his sisters, Kimberly, who was also shot in the incident, and she remembered how he covered her, even though he had already been shot.

When the husband of the other sister called her, Coye, and told her about the shooting, she went to Maskall Street to see if she could see her brother, but he had already been transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s  emergency room, and when she rode her bicycle to the hospital, she found out that he had died.

Attorney Stevanni Duncan, from the law firm of Barrow and Williams, was holding brief for Forbes’ attorney Nigel Ebanks, while Simeon Sampson, S.C., represented Vasquez and Harris.

The Crown was represented by Crown Counsel Kileru Awich.

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