Japheth Bennett sentenced to life in prison for murder of Ellis Meighan Sr.

vlcsnap-2013-03-01-18h45m59s246A convicted murderer will spend the rest of his life in prison. Investigators say 20 year old Japheth Bennett gunned down Ellis Meighan Sr. in September of 2009. Bennett, who was only seventeen at the time, was found guilty of the crime on Tuesday. A witness of the 2009 shooting admitted to police that he saw Bennett standing over the decease’s body with a handgun. However, during trial, that witness testified that he gave no such statement and that all he saw was the body of a dead man lying on the street. But his first statement was still admitted into evidence. This is because of an amendment to the evidence act which allows for a witness’ statement to still be entered as evidence even if the witness is not present during trial or if he or she refuses to cooperate. And so, after only four hours of deliberating, the jury returned with a unanimous – guilty verdict. In yesterday’s mitigation hearing before Justice Adolph Lucas, Bennett took the stand and pleaded with the judge to have mercy on him, saying, “I am asking you to give me back some time. I have accepted that the jurors found me guilty, but as there is a God above, I did not do it.” Nevertheless, Bennett was sentenced to life in prison and was escorted to the Belize Central Prison to start serving his sentence. His family says that they plan to appeal this ruling.

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