General — 30 July 2010 — by Daniel Ortiz
Today in the Supreme Court, in front of Justice Adolf Lucas, a jury of 6 men and 3 women unanimously found 19-year-old Glenford Diego, who was unrepresented, guilty of attempted murder.
The incident happened at 5:40 p.m. on November 15, 2007, when Diego shot Mark Sacasa, 33, a taxi driver of Rivero Street, twice: once in the left elbow and once in the thigh, just in front of Sacasa’s residence.
Diego was remanded due to serving time for another case against him, and is due back in court for sentencing on Friday, when he is expected to present a mitigation plea.
Sacasa testified for the prosecution, represented by Crown Counsel Yohhanhseh Cave, that on the day of the shooting, he was on Rivero Street speaking to his fisherman friend, Jeff Dawson, when he saw Diego, whom he had known for 12 years, riding on a black beach cruiser bicycle in circles on Rivero Street extension.
He said that at the time he saw Diego for about a minute, and he was about 110 feet away. He said that he finished speaking to his friend and was about to enter his yard when he heard a bicycle brake behind him; he spun around and recognized Diego, who was about 3 yards away, and called his name.
Sacasa said that he then heard a gunshot and felt a burning sensation while being thrown backwards. He said that he immediately ran behind a building for cover, but not before taking another bullet. He said that while he hid, he saw Diego with the gun in his hand, and had him in view for about 20 seconds.
After he was sure that Diego had left, he then sought medical attention.
Sacasa also said that he knew Diego very well. He also said that there was no one else in the area that saw the shooting.
In his defense, Diego gave an un-sworn statement in which he said that he is from Seine Bight, and that he is a laborer. He said that he was doing a job up there when the police came to arrest him and informed him that he was wanted for attempted murder against Sacasa in Belize City. He said that he did not know Sacasa at all.
He also said that the police beat him and demanded that he give a statement and produce a gun, neither of which he gave to them. He said that after 3 months of incarceration, he was released and he found a job here in Belize City, and that’s when the Sacasa family began harassing him and making threats to his family; he alleged that one of them even put a .45 mm pistol in front of one of his relatives’ face.
Diego said that they began searching him out when he was at work, and that he had to escape from them once. He raised the idea (according to the instruction from Justice Lucas) of alibi and mistaken identity, saying that he was in Dangriga at the time of the shooting, so he could not have been the shooter.
The jury was unconvinced and found him guilty of attempted murder (there were no alternative charges) after retiring at 11:13 a.m. and returning back at 1:57 p.m.