General — 26 September 2018 — by Roy Davis (freelance reporter)
Two of three men charged with murder plead guilty to manslaughter

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Sept. 19, 2018– Oscar Maldonado, 26, and Jewel Palma, 32, two of three men charged with the murder of Taiwanese national Tsong Ming Liou, 59, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter today before Justice Colin Williams.

A nolle prosequi, indicating that the Crown does not wish to proceed to trial, was entered by the Crown for the third accused man, Jonathan Suazo, 27.

Justice Williams has deferred sentencing until Wednesday, September 26, so that the convicts can present character witnesses, if any, to testify on their behalf, and also in order for Liou’s wife to give an impact assessment statement.

Liou, the proprietor of Bachelor Inn, located in West Landivar, was stabbed to death around 1:30 p.m. on March 6, 2009. Evidence from the Crown indicated that during the morning, the men, four of them (the fourth man’s name was not mentioned in court), met by Pound Yard Bridge and decided to go to the inn.

After noon that day, they went to the inn and asked for a job. Liou invited them to his office on the third floor. While there, the men filled out documents and then they all asked to use the restroom.

When Maldonado came out of the restroom, he shouted, “rat,” and all of them looked towards the restroom. Maldonado then said, “yuh ready?” and he pulled a butcher knife 12 inches long from the waist of his pants.

Palma put one of his arms around Liou’s neck and Maldonado proceeded to stab Liou in the head, neck, chest and back.

Dr. Mario Estradabran, who performed the post-mortem examination on Liou’s body, said that Liou suffered 11 stab wounds and that he died from asphyxiation due to a wound to his trachea.

When the police arrived at the inn, they saw Liou lying on the verandah of the third floor of the inn in a pool of blood, apparently dead. While there, they met Palma coming from the direction of the inn, looking wet and muddy. They apprehended him because he fitted the description of one of the suspects.

Later the same day, the police, acting on information they received, went to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and detained Maldonado, who had gone there for treatment for a large cut wound to his hand that he had apparently gotten when Liou was trying to prevent himself from being stabbed.

Suazo was picked up by police at his Baghdad Street address later the same day.

Maldonado was represented by attorney Leo Bradley, Jr. Palma was represented by attorney Kathleen Lewis. Suazo was represented by attorney Oscar Selgado. The Crown was represented by Crown Counsel Janelle Thomas-Shorter.

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