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Trumpeter found guilty of murder

GeneralTrumpeter found guilty of murder

Photo: Jerome Crawford, guilty

by Roy Davis (freelance writer)

BELIZE CITY, Fri. May 31, 2024

Jerome Crawford, 42, a trumpeter and taxi driver charged with the murder of businessman Owen Tucker, 66, was convicted of the charge today by Justice Derek Sylvester.

Crawford will be sentenced on June 17, after Justice Sylvester takes into consideration a victim impact assessment statement, a social inquiry report, a psychological report, the convict’s criminal record, a plea for mitigation, and a report from Belize Central Prison.

Tucker, the owner of Crocland, a parcel of land located in the Washing Tree area of Biscayne Village, was shot and killed on November 22, 2022. He was standing in an unfinished building on Crocland when Crawford, who was his chief of security, approached him, armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, and accused him of telling lies on him, Crawford.

Crawford reportedly said to Tucker: “You know you’re a dead man, right?”, and he shot Tucker in the head from close range.

The Crown’s main witness, Reuben Cox, Jr., 53, who was employed by Tucker to be a watchman and clear Crocland, testified that he saw when Crawford shot Tucker, and he helped Crawford to clean up the blood on the floor and put Tucker’s body on a piece of canvas because he feared for his life. He said he also helped Crawford to put Tucker’s body in the trunk of Crawford’s car.

Justice Sylvester, in summing up the evidence adduced by the Crown, said he found Cox to be a credible and honest witness.

Cox’s sister, Rose Cox, who was at the unfinished building at the time of the incident, also testified for the Crown. She said she did not see Crawford shoot Tucker, but she heard Crawford tell Tucker that he was a dead man, and she heard the loud bang.

Other circumstantial evidence included DNA evidence to prove that the charred remains of a body found on Lemonal road belonged to Tucker. Swabs taken from Tucker’s mother, Doris Jones, and his son, Owen Tucker the third, were used to match the DNA samples from the charred remains.

Also, an expended cartridge retrieved from the crime scene was proven to have been fired from Crawford’s shotgun that the police found at his house.

In addition to that, a sales representative of Victor Bryant Company, testified that on the morning of November 22, 2022, Crawford went to the gun store and bought 10 cartridges of 12-gauge calibre.

After the Crown closed its case, Crawford testified and denied that he committed the offence. He said he was not at the scene at the material time of the incident.

But Justice Sylvester was convinced that the Crown had proven the 5 elements needed to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt. He said that the Crown had proven that Owen Tucker is dead, and that he died from harm, and that the harm was unlawful, and that it was the accused who inflicted the harm, and when he did so, his sole intention was to kill.

Consequently, he found Crawford guilty.

The Crown was represented by Crown Counsels Riis Cattouse and Shanell Fernandez, while Crawford was represented by attorney Ian Gray.

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