The words, "We want justice" echoed through the streets of San Pedro on November 2nd, 2002, following the brutal murder of well-known San Pedrano fisherman Justo Jairo "Galento" Perez.
Last week in Belize City, the words "guilty of murder" echoed through the Supreme Court as Chief Justice Troadio Gonzalez listened to the jury announce their verdict for three of the five original suspects: Francis "Chino" Eiley, Ernest Savery, and Lenton Polonio. According to Channel 7 News, the only media on the scene last Friday evening, the jury deliberated for just over five hours before handing down their decision after hearing testimony for nearly a month.
Inside and outside the courthouse, emotions ran high as family members cried in disbelief, many of them declaring their outrage over the fact that the witness for the prosecution received immunity for his testimony. This young man, Frank Vasquez, was found at the scene of the crime and was initially arrested along with four other suspects. (One other suspect remains at large.) According to Channel 7, in summing up the case to the jury earlier this week, presiding Chief Justice Troadio Gonzalez warned the jury that Vasquez was a witness who had his own interests to serve, since he was possibly an accomplice to the crime. Nevertheless, the three men were still pronounced guilty.
Eiley, Savery, and Polonio were remanded to Hattieville Prison to await sentencing on September 17th.
Susanna Eiley, mother of Francis Eiley, told The San Pedro Sun that the verdict was an injustice and vowed to appeal it.