American authorities lost a high-profile target yesterday in Rhett Fuller, who dodged extradition to Miami, Florida after a decision was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington not to take him away from his family.
But 28 year old Deon Bruce lost the first hurdle of his own fight this morning in the #1 Magistrate’s Court after Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith ordered that he be sent to Cook County, Chicago, Illinois to be tried on charges of murder and attempted murder for the attack on Aaron Carter and Bryan Rodgers in that U.S. city in 2010.
At the initial extradition hearing, attorney for Bruce, Godfrey Smith, asked the Chief Magistrate to carefully examine the evidence provided by U.S. authorities to see if it is sufficient to commit Bruce for trial. This includes the testimony of the only witness, who was said to have picked Bruce out of a police photo identification lineup, and the police officer who witnessed the identification, as their descriptions of the alleged trigger-man appeared to differ. Bruce was said to be living in the U.S. for a time but came home thereafter.
Attorney Smith was unable to be reached for an interview this afternoon due to an emergency with a staff member. Bruce now has a period of 14 days to file an application for a writ of habeas corpus to show Belizean authorities why he should not be extradited. The Government of Belize was represented by Crown Counsel Magali Perdomo.