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Hattieville fisherman who pleaded guilty to manslaughter is freed

GeneralHattieville fisherman who pleaded guilty to manslaughter is freed

Photo: Albert Jones, Sr., freed

by Roy Davis (freelance writer)

BELIZE CITY, Fri. May 17, 2024

Albert Jones, Sr., 51, who was charged with murder and had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, walked out of the High Court a free man today after he was sentenced by Justice Nigel Pilgrim.

The sentence of 15 years was used as the starting point, and after Justice Pilgrim considered the aggravating and mitigating factors, he subtracted 6 years and 9 months from the sentence; then subtracted a third of the remaining sentence, which resulted in a final sentence of approximately 6 years.

Because Jones spent 6 years on remand, however, his sentence was deemed time served, and he was freed on that basis.

Jones’ conviction was for the death of Alaine Garcia, 35, an auto mechanic of Hattieville, who disappeared on February 20, 2018. Garcia’s body was never found. But on March 8, 2018, Jones told two female police sergeants that it was he who killed Garcia. He also told Senior Police Superintendent Alejandro Cowo that he knew about Garcia’s disappearance. A police corporal recorded and videotaped a statement from Jones in which he admitted that he was responsible for Garcia’s disappearance. Consequently, Jones was arrested and charged with murder.

In the statement he gave, he said that he sneaked up behind Garcia, who was standing on the bank of Hector Creek in Hattieville, and he chopped Garcia in the back of his head and on his hand with a machete. He said he could not recall if he pushed Garcia into the creek or if Garcia fell into the creek. He also said that he put his hand in Garcia’s pocket and took his money and a bead chain and that he threw the machete into the creek.

A voire dire was held to determine the admissibility of the utterances and the caution statement and at the end of it, only the caution statement was admitted into evidence.

Before he decided to plead guilty to the lesser charge, Jones asked Justice Pilgrim for a sentence indication, and Justice Pilgrim told him that the maximum sentence would be 8 years because of his health and his mental condition. Jones was diagnosed as suffering from depression. At the time of the incident, he was an alcoholic and a drug addict.

Jones was represented by attorney Marcel Cardona Cervantes, while the Crown was represented by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lynn Vidal.

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