BELIZE CITY, Tues. June 11, 2019– Oliver Peters, 41, who was charged with the murder of his uncle, Thomas Ferguson, Sr., 47, was found not guilty of the charge today by Justice Colin Williams in a trial that was without a jury.
Ferguson, who resided on Arlington Drive, was stabbed in his chest at his residence shortly after midnight on December 7, 2013.
Peters was first charged with attempted murder, but the charge was upgraded to murder when Ferguson died about two months later. The Crown, represented by Crown Counsel Portia Ferguson, had relied mainly on the evidence provided by Thomas Ferguson, Jr., the son of the deceased.
Ferguson, Jr., who was only 14 years old at the time, testified that he was asleep on a sofa in his father’s house when he was awakened by a scratching sound coming from outside. He said he then saw his father open the door and he saw Peters stab his father with a silver kitchen knife that was used to clean chicken.
He also said that his father was shirtless and he saw Peters wipe the knife.
Queenie Ferguson, the sister of the deceased, testified that she heard a scratching sound and she heard her brother say that he had been stabbed. She also said she saw Peters rubbing the knife on a fence.
Queenie also testified that two days before the stabbing, she heard Peters tell her brother, during an argument between the two men, that he would shed his blood.
Lorraine Ferguson, the wife of the deceased, testified that she heard her husband shout out that he had been stabbed. A police officer testified that shortly after the incident, when he searched Peters, he found a knife with a blade 7 inches long and a handle 5 inches long in the pocket of his pants.
Peters gave a statement from the dock in which he said that it was a case of self-defense. He said that when he walked into the yard on Arlington Drive, his uncle was armed with a machete and he believed that his uncle, with whom he did not get along well, was going to use the machete to hurt him, so he stabbed his uncle.
In giving his verdict, Justice Williams questioned what Ferguson was doing outside at that time of the night when his household was asleep. He said that given the totality of the circumstances, he was of the view that Peters honestly believed that he was acting in self-defense when he stabbed Ferguson.
Justice Williams also said that there was no evidence of the depth of the injury to Ferguson, and that by the time Ferguson died, the wound had already healed.
Peters was represented at the time of the delivery of the verdict by attorney Oscar Selgado, who held brief for attorney Leeroy Banner.