Two weeks ago Samuel Miguel was found beaten to death in an open parking lot on Orange Street in Belize City. He was a member of the Youth Apprenticeship Program of the Ministry of Education and had just recently been paid. Tonight there is a second murder to report which also involves a member of the program, 25 year old Leon Burgess in the Lake Independence area. According to police, Burgess was at home around 10:25 Monday night and had got up to use the bathroom when the sound of gunfire rang out. His girlfriend who was at home with him at the time tells us how she made the shocking discovery.
Voice of girlfriend of deceased:
“He just lay down back side of me. He just lay down like in a position the watch the t.v, you understand? I ask ah dah what and when I conscious he nuh the answer me and he the get stiff, I just jump top of him and I the tell ah, babe, answer me nuh buoy. Weh you gone do? Deh time he eena lone boxers cause he gone outside fi gone pee pee, you understand? And dah when he gone back inside then the gunshot they start fire, cause dah close range, you understand? Cause fi we house dah bungalow. The amount of blood that I see he throw up… so I just lean he pan the side and I tell him, babe, spit it out, spit it out, and he spit out a bullet out of his mouth with an amount of blood and I turned him off of my pillow. The amount of blood that was on my pillow was unbelievable.
The girlfriend claims that Burgess stayed alive for about half an hour before being transported to hospital; however police say he was removed immediately and pronounced dead on arrival. Family members say they had no reason to believe anyone wanted Leon dead, but according to his mother-in-law Julia Arana, she had been previously warned to send Leon away from their home. She explains why she continued to give him a chance.
“He was a respectable young man. Give me my respect. I never heard him holler at my daughter. I never had no problem with him. And I so glad we had a relationship because he came out, ‘morning, mommy’. He asked me for things and what we got we shared with each other. So I never find no difficulty with him. You understand? “
Reporter: So why would anybody want to kill him?
Julia Arena, mother-in-law of deceased
“Everything right now is about his past. It’s all about the past and I give people second chance. Cause people tell me things about him and I just say, no. That is not the person that I know.”
Reporter: What sort of past did he have?
Julia Arena, mother-in-law of deceased
“Well on the street as you know, hanging out but not to know that I know what he did. It’s just hanging out with the wrong crowd. But he was a very good young man to my daughter.”
Burgess had a few months ago gained full-time employment at RF&G Insurance after working there as an apprentice. But there was a time when it seemed he could not escape his past, and turned to Director of the Youth Apprenticeship Program, Diane Finnegan, for help. Finnegan recounted the experience for us today.
“I remember in one of those occasions he said to me, ‘Ma D, I can’t do this anymore. Best I go back to my life’, he said, ‘because I hate seeing you how you worry bout me. I hate you have to come all the time come pick me up and bail me out’. And I said, ‘Leon, this is just a trying time and if you could endure all of this , I know the day will come when there will be a calm and I will be right here to go through it with you’. We’ve gone through it all. And he said to me, ‘ One day a police came up to my office and he said, ‘Cho! Dah yah you work? I proud of you and I the look pan you and the make sure that you nuh drop.’ And he felt good about that because it was the very same officers who were always targeting him and now they were now motivating him to do the best and move forward.”
Police continue their investigations.