Police Constable Alpheus Parham, who was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter on Friday in the court of Justice John Gonzalez, was sentenced to 10 years today. But PC Parham will only serve 5 years, because 5 years was deducted from his sentence because of the of the time he spent as a prisoner on remand and the plea for mitigation by his attorney, Simeon Sampson.
A jury of six men and six women deliberated for four hours to reach unanimous verdicts on both charges before Justice Gonzalez.
Constable Parham is accused of causing the death of 29 year old Alex Goff, a Belize City resident and detainee at the Caye Caulker Police Station on May 9, 2010. Alex Goff was by himself in a holding cell at the station when he was shot fatally to the forehead.
There were no direct eyewitnesses to the shooting and the prosecution’s evidence as presented by Crown Prosecutor Leeroy Banner was mostly circumstantial. An officer who said he was threatened to be charged with the murder gave a statement to police and testified during trial that he saw Constable Parham go to the back of the cell and shortly afterward he heard an explosion. This officer then saw Parham come back from the direction of the back of the cell.
A second officer corroborated the testimony, adding that Parham walked out of the station after leaving the cell without speaking to anyone. Justice Gonzalez denied a submission of no case to answer made by Parham’s attorney Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson made at the end of the prosecution’s case and invited the accused to make his defense.
Alpheus Parham gave a statement from the dock in which he said that he went to the cell because the detainee was being disorderly. He said when he went into the cell, Alex Goff indicated that he wanted to use the restroom, and while he was escorting Goff to the restroom, Goff drew his .38 revolver from the waist of the officer’s pants and a struggle ensued between them. He said the gun accidentally went off during the struggle.