Four charged for Murder and Attempted Robbery

Four persons were charged in Belmopan Magistrates Court this evening for Murder and Attempted Robbery of 43yr old Isabel Ballona. On Sunday June 2nd shortly after 12am, Belmopan Police visited La Choza Bar in West Belmopan where they found two male persons suffering from gunshot wounds. 43yr old ISABEL ANTONIO BALLONA had gunshot wounds to the left side of his head while 50 year old MANUEL AGUINO received a gunshot wound to the right leg.  Belmopan Police have since been working on the case and this evening four men; 29 yr old Edwin Paula, 19yr old Manuel Hernandez . 18yr old Rudy Santos and Rasheed Crespo were arraigned in the Belmopan Court on 3 counts of Robbery and 1 count of Murder. Sinquest Martinez, Assistant Supt of Police and Officer Commanding of  the Belmopan Police Sub-formation briefed the media on how the case came together.

Sinquest Martinez – Assistant Supt of Police:
vlcsnap-2013-06-05-20h42m08s44It was hard work and dedication. For the past two months there was a rise of crime within Belmopan.  It was plaguing myself along with my co-workers.  We sat down Sunday morning and strategized, and from there it was one person that we caught within the area of the call.  That’s what caused us to crack the case.
The detention of men started on Sunday morning.  We started with seven persons within the Los Flores area. After which, when we went there and we conducted searches on themselves and their houses, that’s when we found some of the items.  that just led us to more items. 

Of the four men, three of them, namely Manuel Hernandez, Rudy Santos and Rasheed Crespo, should have been walking down the Graduation isle for Belmopan Comprehensive School which was scheduled for tonight. Instead the trio walked down the isle of the Kolbe Foundation where they have been remanded. Martinez responded to questions raised by the media as to whether he’s sure they have the right persons.

Sinquest Martinez – Assistant Supt of Police:
All the young boys that were detained, one of the stolen items was found on them or at their home. The stolen items were either from the University of Belize or from the establishment that was robbed on Saturday. So they are linked.  75% of the items from the University of Belize Aggravated Burglary have been recovered, and most of the stuff that was stolen from the establishment with the incident that transpired on Saturday has been recovered. The car, the money, the cell phones, they have been identified, and they are linked.  We haven’t planted anything on them.

While being escorted to court, 29yr old Edwin Paula who is believed to be the groups ring leader, made comments to our camera that they had been brutalized by Police during detention. Martinez responded to those allegations.

Sinquest Martinez – Assistant Supt of Police:
vlcsnap-2013-06-05-20h41m31s155You need to realize the car was stolen. The terrain where we found the car, and the way you could see damage on the car, so that could have happened when they were in that car.
I ensured that we went through the proper procedures pertaining to these young boys, pertaining to this investigation.

29year old Edwin Paula was additionally charged with 2 counts of possession for an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

This evening was not their only appearance in court for the four men though. The group of four also appeared in court this morning for the UB aggravated burglary report which took place last month. The incident took place on May 8th shortly after 8:30pm when  a group of six armed masked men broke into the dormitory.  Armed with a 9mm, .38 pistols and shotguns the men relieved the students of their laptops, Ipods, tablets, cash and cell phones, all valuing over forty thousand dollars. Martinez says the they believe that  Edwin Paula, Manuel Hernandez Rudy Santos and Rasheed Crespo were behind that incident as items from the students have been recovered from each of their homes.

Sinquest Martinez – Assistant Supt of Police: 
The investigation continues with them and other persons of interest to us likewise.  We have several robberies that occurred in this area of the same type, the same nature.  Both UB Aggravated Burglary and the murder at the establishment was our primary focus that created a lot of attention.  The University of Belize Aggravated Burglary [involved] international students, and it went outside. So we had to put a lot of emphasis on this.

Officer Martinez told the media that they are also looking for two other persons whom they believe have been involved in committing crimes with the group around the City of Belmopan.

Sinquest Martinez – Assistant Supt of Police:
We have other investigations of interest likewise.  We have two burglaries that have interest. We have two robberies that is of great interest to us likewise.  And we are just taking it as it comes.  There are times the information coming  very slow, and when the information comes we act on it, and from there it leads us.

All four persons were charged with 9 counts of aggravated burglary for that incident.

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