Foiled robbery attempt results in homicide

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 43            November 7, 2002

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On Saturday morning, residents of San Pedro awoke to the news of a shocking cold-hearted murder that left many in disbelief. Large crowds gathered on the corner of Pescador Drive and Ambergris Street where the gruesome event took place. The question of why someone would want to target one of San Pedro's most friendly and humble personalities was repeated throughout the crowd. The answer soon came to light - burglars who wanted the contents of a safe. Anguished cries were heard as people on the scene discovered that well-known Sanpedrano fisherman Justo Jairo "Galento" Perez's life had ended in a brutal murder. The words, "We want justice" echoed through the streets. As the day progressed, the motive began to unfold as news of scandalous and incriminating evidence, as well as the assailants' names, were revealed. 

    The San Pedro police report stated: At about 5:00 a.m. on November 2nd, 2002, information was received that there was a lifeless body at a residence on the corner of Pescador Drive and Ambergris Street, San Pedro Town. Police visited the said place and discovered the body of a male Hispanic person who was identified as Justo Jairo Perez, 63, fisherman of San Pedro Town. The body of said person had seven large wounds to the center, right and left side of the head, and two wounds to the forehead. Both hands and feet were tied together. 

    The police investigation revealed that there was an iron safe in the room of Jairo Perez and that someone had attempted to break into it and that led to his death. Crime scene and forensics personnel were called out to process the scene.

    According to a spokesperson from the San Pedro Police Department, one of the assailants was captured at the scene by KBH Security Supervisor Dimas Guerrero who managed to deliver the accused to the police station. At the station, the defendant revealed the names of the other accomplices. A total of five persons were detained at the San Pedro Police Station and subsequently transferred to the Queen Street Police Station in Belize City for further interrogation.

   Police investigation then led to the arrest of Francis Eiley, 27, tour guide of Trigger Street, San Pedro Town; Lenton Polonio, 24, wood carver of San Pedro Town; Ernest Savery, 27, laborer of Belize City; and Frank Vasquez, 18, laborer of 165 Neal Pen Road, Belize City. All were charged with the crime of murder. Kevin Gonzalez, 25 of Sand Piper Street and Ernest Savery, were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit burglary.

    According to further reports, on Monday, November 4th the detainees appeared before Magistrate Margaret McKenzie and were remanded to Hattieville Prison until November 12th. Senior Counsel B.Q. Pitts is representing Francis Eiley, Ernest Savery and Kevin Gonzalez. Mr. Pitts requested bail for Kevin Gonzalez on the conspiracy charge, but Magistrate McKenzie denied the bail. Frank Vasquez and Lenton Polonio appeared in court undefended.
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