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#498304 - 11/25/14 03:55 AM Panamanian Diplomat Slain In Belize  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Police Have Suspect; Recover Vehicle

And while an elected representative stepping down is a first - so is our other top story tonight: the murder of a diplomat. The Panamanian Charge d' Affairs was found murdered in the greater Belmopan area on Sunday afternoon. There is major breaking news concerning that killing tonight, but we start at the murder scene today:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
This is the road off the Hummingbird Highway across from La Cabana where Jose Rodriga De la Rosa's body was found. It is known as West Belmopan - and the road is called La Choza after the Bar that used to be a popular watering hole - it has now closed down.

This is what the police came down yesterday afternoon - after receiving a call from a man who lives in the area - and found the body here - dumped down a hole in the bush. The grass looks like it was freshly mashed down.

Bloodstains are everywhere and somewhere likely left by the killer or killers.

The diplomat appeared to have had his neck slit; he also had cut wounds to his head.

Additionally, his white Nissan SUV with diplomatic plates had been stolen.

This morning police combed the area for the third time - an indication of the level of seriousness with which they are treating the investigation.

So far, police believe that De La Rosa was killed and then dumped here.

The area is about a mile from the Hummingbird Highway near a quarry.

But police suspect that the killer may have been familiar with the area.

The rutted road is not for novices, and assuming it was dumped here at night when it is pitch dark - it would be a challenge to navigate.

Because it is a diplomat, the murder is considered super sensitive and neither police nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wanted to comment today.

But as we said there is major breaking news: first 7News has learned that a single key suspect is in the custody of Belmopan police. The two important things about him is that, first: he is from the Belmopan area and two, he was not a stranger to the diplomat.

The second point is important because the murder has concerned other embassies in Belize - who are concerned that diplomats are being targeted. Police are hoping to establish that it was an isolated event - and one based on familiarity.

And now the very latest reports say that police have recovered the diplomat's vehicle which was stolen.

More on this tomorrow.

Channel 7

Panamanian diplomat murdered in Belmopan

Belmopan police are presently attempting to unravel the circumstances surrounding the shocking death of the Charge d’ Affaires of the Panamanian Embassy in Belize whose lifeless body was reportedly found, with cut wounds to the neck and head, at about 4:00 p.m. yesterday, November 23, in the western part of Belize’s capital, Belmopan.

Today, police reported that the mutilated body of Jose Rodrigo De La Rosa Stanford, 64, was discovered about ¾ mile from the La Chosa area, and sometime this evening, his vehicle, a white Nissan with diplomatic license plates, which had been stolen, was recovered by police.

While authorities have launched an investigation into the apparent homicide, details of the events leading up to the grisly death of De La Rosa Stanford remain unknown, and while we have confirmed that an associate of De La Rosa is currently detained and being interrogated by police, it is still unclear whether was De La Rosa killed in the area where his body was found, or if he was killed elsewhere and his body left in the area near La Chosa, where it was found by police on Sunday evening.

La Chosa is a recreational area, bar and restaurant located west of Belmopan, and is popular with local residents and expatriates.

Unconfirmed reports reaching Amandala are that the Panamanian diplomat left his home at around 9:00 on Sunday morning, seven hours before he was found at around 4:00 p.m. that same day.

Amandala understands that the Government of Panama has confirmed the murder of the diplomat in Belize and consequently issued a press release today, which was published in Panamanian newspapers.

The release from the Foreign Ministry of Panama indicated that condolences have been sent to the family and loved ones of His Excellency José Rodrigo De La Rosa following his untimely death, adding that “Mr. De La Rosa was the victim of an alleged murder on the outskirts of the City of Belmopan, Belize.”

“De La Rosa was a career diplomat and served as Chargé d’ Affaires at the Embassy of Panama in Belize. The President of the Republic [of Panama] has made available the presidential plane so the family of the diplomat can travel to Belize and return his body to Panama as soon as possible”, it went on to state.

The release concluded by mentioning that “the Government of Panama will send an official delegation, composed of a diplomatic representative and a judicial officer, to assist in clarifying the circumstances surrounding this crime.”

Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed us that they will issue an official press release on the unfortunate incident after the autopsy has been performed.


#498340 - 11/25/14 01:07 PM Re: Panamanian Diplomat Slain In Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,664
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UPDATE: An 18 year old Hispanic male is in police custody for the murder of the Panamanian chargé d'affaires. The alleged murdered is claiming that he acted in self defense, claiming that De La Rosa picked him up, bought him drinks & then attempted to rape him at gunpoint.

Channel 5

#498356 - 11/26/14 03:49 AM Re: Panamanian Diplomat Slain In Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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GF of Accused Teenaged Male Says Diplomat Tried To Rape Him

But, first to news of a compelling story coming out of the murder of Panamanian Diplomat, Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa Stanford.

As we told you last night police were quick to detain the prime suspect and even recover the Charge D' Affairs stolen vehicle. Tonight they are preparing to charge an 18 year old male for the crime.

But, there's a disturbing counter narrative that has appeared. It's being led by the girlfriend of the accused. She's not saying he's innocent - she says that the teenager was acting in self defence, as he fought off an unwelcome sexual advance from the 64 year old diplomat.

She says that De La Rosa lured him to that secluded area known on La Choza road, and it was there that the older man allegedly tried to rape him at gunpoint.

We met Chavarria's girlfriend at the Belmopan Police station. She asked to speak off-camera about his version of the encounter, which left De La Rosa dead. Here's what she told us:

Voice of: Girlfriend of Winsor Chavarria
"What happen is that he was defending himself because that man, the Diplomat, he is a pervert, he wanted to rape him. He wanted to take advantage of him, that's why he defended himself. He had no choice."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"Have you had a chance to talk to Windsor after the incident happened? What exactly did he tell you?"

Voice of: Girlfriend of Winsor Chavarria
"He told me that the man offered him - he knew him from where he use to work and so he met him at the terminal. He was shopping and the man offered him a ride and a drink and so he took it. Then the man told him that he knew a nice place to take a drink and he took him to this place, an isolated place that he didn't knew and then he gave him another beer and then the man like try to touch his private parts when he didn't want it, the man took out his gun and tried to rape him and that's when he saw a blade in his car and he cut him. He didn't know where, but he had to do it to defend himself because it was his life or the man's life."

Mike Rudon, Ch5
"What was Windsor's reaction when he went home, when he was telling you what happened?"

Voice of: Girlfriend of Winsor Chavarria
"He didn't tell me the first minute, but I saw him weird. He tried to tell me what was going on."

"AT that moment, his state of mind, did he know exactly the gravity or the extent of what he did?"

Voice of: Girlfriend of Winsor Chavarria
"He was confused. It's the first time he did this because he is not like that. It is the first time he did something like that."

As we told you last night, De La Rosa becomes the first Diplomat to be killed in Belize. The apparent murder sent a chill though the diplomatic community where there was a concern that the crime could have been to target staff of foreign missions. The personal angel seems to suggest otherwise - and we understand the accused has given a confession statement to this effect and is cooperating with police. Police expect to charge him tonight or tomorrow morning. He has been identified by his family to us as Winsor Chavarria, a resident of Belmopan.

Hon. Elrington Has To Speak To Panamanian Counterparts

And while the narrative and the confession from the 18 year old should serve to ease the scare in the diplomatic community - the ugly details make it no easier for Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington who has to communicate the news to his Panamanian counterpart.

Today, we caught Elrington as he was heading into a cabinet meeting.

He told us that he has been in contact with the Panamanian Government to assure them that the authorities in Belize are doing all they can to bring De La Rosa's killer to justice:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"My understanding is that he was seeing leaving his apartment at the Marina Towers on Sunday morning and then his body was found sometime on Sunday afternoon. So it was a 12 hour period within which this incident occurred. It's a very unfortunate situation. We are very saddened about it, exceedingly saddened. I had met the Ambassador, he was only been here for a brief while and I think everybody who came across him were impressed with him. They liked him very much and he was very enthusiastic, he really wanted to get the airline coming out of Panama into Belize as quickly as possible. I know that's a project he was working on with a great deal of enthusiasm. I was very disappointed to hear of his passing. Our police have been doing excellent work, however and I am told they are just about to charge someone for the offence. They have recovered his cell phone, they have recovered the vehicle and they have gotten a caution statement, so if there is anything that is good about that situation, it is that in fact police have done an excellent job in seeming to resolve that problem."

"Have you been shared the details as to how he was murdered or why?"

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"No, I don't have that information and generally that is information which is not necessarily shared with us, but I spoke to the Vice President who is also the foreign minister yesterday, I gave her the information which we had up to that date and today we will be sending off more information to her."

Elrington told us that the Panamanian Foreign Minister informed him that a new Charge D' Affairs will be sent to Belize shortly to act in De La Rosa's absence. Elrington also does not believe that the diplomat's killing will affect the relationship between Belize and Panama.

Getting back to the relationship between the deceased and the suspect, Chavarria's family says that he used to work for a security company which used to provide security services for the Panama Embassy. He was posted at the Panamanian Embassy, and that's where he came into contact with Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa Stanford. His family claims that they had no other encounter or interactions before Sunday evening when De La Rosa allegedly offered him a ride and a drink.

Channel 7

#498392 - 11/27/14 04:07 AM Re: Panamanian Diplomat Slain In Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,664
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Arraignment Fiasco For Teenager Accused of Killing Diplomat

Tonight, the family of 18 year-old Wilser Echeverria, the man accused by police of killing Panamanian Diplomat Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa Stanford, continues worry about his fate because police have charged him for murder, but in a confounding twist, the Sitting Magistrate is refusing to arraign him. It all pivots on his claim that he killed the diplomat in self defence because the man wanted to rape him gunpoint.

For a few hours today, he was indeed charged by investigators with the capital offence, and Belmopan police marched him before Magistrate Aretha Ford this morning. The arraignment should have gone through, and since it is an indictable offence, no plea would have been taken and Echeverria would have sat in jail on remand for months until the DPP’s Office was able to proceed with a Supreme Court case against him.

So, when the police prosecutor presented Echeverria before the Magistrate, his defense attorneys Dickie Bradley and Michelle Trapp-Zuniga, intervened on his behalf before the arraignment could take place.

His attorneys pointed out to the Magistrate that under the Criminal Code, a person who claims self-defense cannot be criminally charged unless a written leave from the Director of Public Prosecutions is given to grant permission. The law says quote, “Where a person is alleged to have killed another person and the accused person claims that he did so for the prevention of or for the defence of himself…no charge shall be laid or prosecution commenced against such person for the offence of murder except with the leave of the Director of Public Prosecutions given in writing.”

The premise of the procedure, the defence said, was the ensure that a man who acted in self-defence should not have to sit in jail on remand, waiting for his day in court, without the explicit authority of the prosecuting office – in this case DPP Vidal – that they are sufficiently convinced that they can disprove his claim of justifiable force and harm.

After querying the letter of the law for herself, the Magistrate agreed with the defence’s submissions and refused to arraign Echeverria on the charge of murder because there was no written leave from DPP Cheryl Lynn Vidal. We understand that at some point during the arraignment the police prosecutor submitted to the Magistrate that indeed, the police department had sent the files to the DPP’s Office, that they had gotten that leave from Vidal, and that its arrival at the Magistrate’s Court is imminent. The Magistrate then asked him to produce that document, or else the arraignment would not proceed.

But, you may remember that the now infamous memo sent from Assistant Police Commissioner Blackett, which we showed you last night. For context, you may remember that it said, quote “The Practice of consulting the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as to whether to charge a person for murder or any other crime must cease forthwith.” End quote. That strong instructions down the chain of command is still in effect, and Belmopan Police were following the orders that they were given.

We understand that the police prosecutor had to recant his statement to the Magistrate that the DPP’s Office had given the leave to charge Echeverria when a query was done. As it turned out in fact, the Police Department was not awaiting any instructions or advice from the DPP’s Office, and the Prosecutor informed the Magistrate of this afterwards.

So, that’s where it stands tonight, Belmopan Police having charged Echeverria with murder, his defence team insisting that the DPP’s Office must give its input, and the DPP’s Office having not seen the file, creating an embarrassment of the law procedures, all because of that police memo.

Channel 7

#498611 - 12/04/14 03:55 AM Re: Panamanian Diplomat Slain In Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,664
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DPP Says Teenager Will Be Charged For Diplomat’s Murder

Last week Thursday, we told you how the 18 year-old Belmopan Resident, Wilser Echeverria, was arraigned and remanded for a charge related to the death of the Panamanian Diplomat, Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa Stanford. Well tonight, the news is that he will now be charged directly for De La Rosa’s murder.

After 6 days of reviewing the case file for herself, the Director of Public Prosecutions signed off, and indicated to the investigator that her office now supports the laying of the charge.

In communication with us today, DPP Cheryl-Lynn Vidal told us quote,

“My request to the police for additional evidence in the Echeverria matter was finally complied with in its entirety this morning and I later gave them the authority to lay the charge of murder. This is obviously a case in which there is no eyewitness evidence and in order to rebut the allegation of the suspect, and prove that the killing was unlawful, the circumstantial and forensic evidence is critical. I could not have properly made a decision until I had certain evidence before me and so no directive was given until today.”

Her buy in, as we told you is important because without it, Echeverria cannot be properly charged with murder.

Echeverria’s attorneys convinced Magistrate Aretha Ford not to arraign him last week Wednesday because police didn’t have the DPP’s written leave that she will prosecute Echeverria despite his self-defence claim. He has cooperated with police confessing to De La Rosa’s killing, but he claims that he did it in self-defence because the Panamanian Diplomat tried to rape him at gunpoint.

Echeverria was arraigned in Belmopan Magistrate’s Court last week for the charge of theft because police say that they can connect him to De La Rosa’s missing vehicle and cellular phone which was recovered a day after his body was found. They claim to have a witness who ties Echeverria to these items.

Channel 7

#498668 - 12/05/14 04:25 AM Re: Panamanian Diplomat Slain In Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,664
Marty Online happy
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Diplomats Death; Victim’s Brother Speak in His Behalf

19 year old Wilser Echevarria has been charged for the murder of 64 year old Panamanian Diplomat, Jose Rodrigo De la Rosa. Echevarria was charged with murder and theft- one count in regards to the motor vehicle and one count in regards to a cell phone. Two weeks ago, Echevarria family and friends were out in front of the Belmopan Police Station displaying their support for what they believe is an injustice. Love News spoke to the brother of the accused victim, Allen Echevarria, told us more. Correspondent Fem Cruz tells us more.


“Allan Echeverria brother accused in the case of the diplomat, share with us the concern of the family on new information gathered.”


“Wilson Echeverria an 18 year old teenager who had previously known the diplomat at a recent job institution. He got in touch with the diplomat at Central Belmopan. The man offered him a drink, got Wilson under the influence of alcohol. Wilson socialized with the diplomat like he would any other friend but unexpectedly the diplomat wanted to take advantage of him. Wilson got nervous and was in a state of shock. Every human’s nervous system responds differently to the changes, it receives information from the environment he was in and passes it through the body to the point where the body can make sense of the information and respond to it. In this situation, Wilson was threatened by the diplomat so Wilson reacted in the process of self-defense. What I am trying to say is that this diplomat tried to take advantage of my little brother and what he was doing was self-defense in other words it was either his life or the diplomat’s life because if my brother had only physically abused him, he still would have ended in jail. In this situation money runs because my cousin Yasmanie Aguirre was murdered as well and nothing was done. My friend Zoila was murdered and nothing else was done as well. These are ordinary people, how about when we talk about diplomatic people they are trying to find anything to accuse these person to be guilty. Let justice be the way for every citizen in Belize.”

Echevarria family and friends were out in front of the Belmopan Police Station displaying their support for what they believe is an injustice.


#498678 - 12/05/14 05:34 AM Re: Panamanian Diplomat Slain In Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,305
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline
Wait, the murderer is the victim?

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