Trio’s murder charges dropped in death of BDF soldier

Supreme Court Justice Troadio Gonzalez, acting alone, ruled today that three Belize City men accused of the November 23, 2012 murder of vlcsnap-2015-10-28-20h08m00s200Belize Defence Force Soldier, 28 year old James Noralez had no case to answer, causing them to dash out of the courtroom and down the stairs like someone was after them.  The judge had heard submissions from the Crown and the men’s defence attorneys, Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold  for 27 year old Orel Leslie; Richard “Dickie” Bradley for Tyrone Meighan, 22; and Arthur Saldivar for 30 year old Brandon Baptist,  on Tuesday. Making his ruling, Justice Gonzalez said, that after carefully listening to and reviewing the submissions from both sides, he concluded that the evidence produced by the crown is not the type that when a jury is properly directed, they cannot convict the accused persons. He also added that in his view, the evidence adduced by vlcsnap-2015-10-28-20h08m07s18the prosecution amounted to no more than high suspicion but not reasonable doubt that the three men were involved in the murder of James Noralez. The defence argued that chief witness Aaron Paquil, who was also detained in connection with the murder, had supposedly heard the accused whispering about planning to kill Noralez, then they were seen leaving with him in a black four-door car. But no one actually saw the murder, which took place up the George Price Highway. vlcsnap-2015-10-28-20h07m54s140Police arrested Leslie, who had returned in the vehicle driven by Baptist looking shaken and quickly running into his house, along with Paquil and a third man, and the following day Paquil fingered Tyrone Meighan as the man who killed Noralez’ dog, which he did not elaborate on. He claimed to have left the yard afterward. Noralez’s bullet riddled body was found at the intersection of the Western Highway and Fabers Road Extension with as many as 10 bullets in him.

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