BELIZE CITY, Fri. July 31, 2020– After Justice Antoinette Moore issued a life sentence on Thursday to William “Danny” Mason, 54; Ashton Vanegas, 27; Ernest Castillo, 23; Keiron Fernandez, 32; and his brother, Terrence Fernandez, 28, for the decapitation/murder of Belmopan resident Pastor Llewellyn Lucas, 47, also known as Pastor Lue, the pastor’s family expressed to the media their satisfaction with the sentences that the convicted men received.
The high-profile case was prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lyn Vidal. The men were all found guilty in the Western Session of the Supreme Court in December 2019, by Justice Antoinette Moore, who deferred sentencing until Thursday.
Justice Moore gave each of them a life sentence, with three of the men not having a possibility of parole until after they have spent a minimum of 35 years in prison. Ernest Castillo, because he was only 19 at the time of the heinous murder of Pastor Lue, is the only convicted man of the four who could be considered for parole after he has spent 30 years in prison. Justice Moore lowered the minimum amount of time he must spend in prison before his eligibility for parole after taking into consideration that he was young and impressionable at the time of the crime, she said.
The Lucas family had been in attendance at the trial from its commencement to its conclusion on Thursday. Pastor Lue’s sister, Thisbe Usher, said that although they are satisfied with the sentence, and believe that justice has been served, there is nothing to really celebrate, because the family has been so devastated by Pastor Lucas’ death.
Lucas’ mother, who is now elderly, said Usher cannot get over the horrendous death and has nightmares in which she sees the image of her brother’s head in the bucket with blood and ice.
Usher said that she and her family cannot find words to describe the devastation they experienced. The family is getting some closure, however, and also they are comforted by the judge, who explained that testing which was done on burnt remains that were found on the farm, proved that the pieces of bones found were human. Lucas’ body had never been found, but the family feels assured that the burnt body was that of their loved one, and that has been a source of solace for them.
It has not been established why Pastor Lucas was subjected to such a brutal execution.
Usher said that Pastor Lue had planned to build a youth center in Belmopan to impact youths positively and to help them become good citizens. He had showed her the plan and the proposal, she said, and he had taken it to others and talked to them about his plan, but those plans died with him.
On July 15, 2016, Pastor Lucas’ head was found by police in a bucket in the covered pan of a pickup in which the five convicted men were traveling. The police officers who made the discovery had been investigating a report made to them by Mennonite David Dodd of a kidnapping by Mason and his cohorts.