BELIZE CITY. Thurs. Aug. 6, 2020– A police manhunt that lasted over 18 months came to an end when Mexican authorities in Vera Cruz, Mexico, found Vildo Lorenzo Westby, 30, a baker of San Pedro, who was wanted by Belize police for the murder of Jose Ayuso, 44, the owner of a unisex salon in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, who was found dead in his home on February 2, 2017.
Westby was handed over to Belize authorities and arraigned on a single charge of murder when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford on December 17, 2017. He was remanded into custody. He was represented by attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley.
Westby, charged with murder for the death of Ayuso, appeared before Justice Colin Williams in his Supreme Court trial in Belize City, which began on Monday, August 3, and concluded yesterday, Wednesday.
Westby was found guilty of the capital offense by Justice Williams.
Westby told the court that he stabbed Ayuso because he had been provoked. He said that Ayuso grabbed his private part, causing him to become annoyed. He said that Ayuso then grabbed a screwdriver and advanced toward him, but he was able to struggle with him and take away the screwdriver, and he then stabbed Ayuso multiple times.
Westby said that after realizing what he had done, he quickly took off his shirt, which had become bloody, and hid it some bushes. He then went home.
Justice Williams, after studying the evidence, was not convinced that the stabbing of Ayuso was justified, and said that Westby used excessive force, and so, found him guilty.
The judge has deferred sentencing until a later date in September.
Ayuso’s sister, Carmen Eiley, 46, who resides in San Pedro, became concerned when she went to his salon on February 2, 2017, and found it closed after she last saw him and spoke to him the day before.
She became even more concerned when she called his cell phone and received no reply. She then decided to go to his house, located at the corner of Jewfish Street and Seaweed Street. When she went up to the second floor of his two-flat house and went to his bedroom, she found him lying on his bed in a crouched position, with multiple stab wounds in the upper part of his body. He was clad in a white undershirt and blue short pants.
Police reported that after they conducted an investigation, it became clear to them that Westby was the killer. But a search for Westby proved fruitless until he was located by Mexican authorities in Vera Cruz on September 1, 2017.
Police say they carried out an identification parade and Westby was positively identified by witnesses who saw him going into the house.