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At William Mason beheading trial, court gets written statement from US federal agent

BELMOPAN, Mon. Oct. 21, 2019– The murder trial of William Danny Mason and his four co-accused, Ashton Vanegas, Terrence and Keiron Fernandez, and Ernest Henry Castillo continued today in the Belmopan Supreme Court of Justice Antoinette Moore.

The accused men are being tried for the July 2016 beheading murder of Dangriga Pastor Llewellyn Lucas, whose head was found in a bucket in the back of a pickup owned by Mason.

Today, the court got a chance to see the written statement from a US federal agent, that it had obtained through diplomatic channels. This is among the last piece of evidence that the defense is putting up before the final addresses are made.

According to the US witness, on July 17, 2016, the acting Commissioner of Police, Russell Blackett asked for the agent’s professional assistance to interview an American, David Dodd, in respect to a kidnapping and murder investigation that the Belize police were conducting.

In his statement, the US witness also stated that William Mason was arrested for the murder of Pastor Lucas, and wanted to speak to someone from the US Embassy.

The agent met with Mason and learned his real name was Rajesh Ouelette, and that he was born in Guyana.

According to the statement the agent sent, Mason told the US agent that he was being framed by Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, for Lucas’ murder.

Mason told the agent that he was in fear for his life and the agent advised him to get legal representation and to contact the Guyanese Consulate in Belize.

After the hearing ended, attorney Norman Rodriguez provided the media with an update of the proceedings.

Rodriguez told reporters, “All defense counsels or the defendants have closed their cases, so we’re going into the closing submissions now. The fifth defendant (Mason) closed his case this morning by getting in the statement with certain amendments from the last witness it had called, and there were discussions with that and it ended up that with a few amendments that they accepted.

“Secondly, the issue of the pictures that some defense counsels wanted to get in, the court had declared that firstly, the DVD or CD with the pictures had to go in full. But eventually, it allowed the counsels, the Crown and the defense counsels to come together and look at what pictures were irrelevant. Those are being removed and the new DVD and CDs will be returned tomorrow morning, so we have adjourned until ten in the morning, at which time the case will continue into its closing, the final stages.”

The trial continues tomorrow, Tuesday, when final submissions will begin.

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