Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014. 4:31 pm CST.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: 34 year old Renan Briceno Jr was this afternoon told he was not guilty of the murder of 19 year old Dale Tillett at Palm Island Nightclub on the Philip Goldson Highway on December 31, 2011.
Justice Troadio Gonzalez, hearing the case alone without a jury, said he was not convinced by the prosecution that Briceno shot and killed Tillett in the entertainment night spot’s parking lot.
The main evidence relied on by the Crown was the statement of Albert “Long John” Fuentes, deceased, who said he witnessed Briceno shoot Tillett in the head as he lay on the ground.
However, Fuentes’ own gruesome death two years later meant he could not be brought to court and examined as is normally the case for prosecution witnesses.
While the elements of Tillett’s death, its lawfulness and its cause were proven, that Briceno was the man who pulled the trigger intending that Tillett should die was not – at least not to the satisfaction of the judge, who said he found the statement to be lacking and Fuentes short of veracity.
He contrasted with the accused, whose demeanor was unshaken through cross-examination from the witness stand, where he insisted had no firearm on him and was hiding away from the shooting at the time.
He said he had left his licensed weapon with a friend who accompanied him to the nightclub for a promotion.
Briceno, who was working for SMART as a marketing executive at the time of his arrest, was led away after the conclusion of Justice Gonzalez’s decision under police guard to a waiting vehicle on Treasury Lane, presumably to protect him from possible retaliation.
Meanwhile, family members including Orange Walk Central area representative and uncle John Briceno, and attorney Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold, declined comment to the waiting press.
However, it was all too much for relatives of Tillett, particularly his mother, who stormed away from the court in a torrent of tears.
One other person was shot in that incident but it was never made clear who shot at him. A full statement of the reasoning for decision will be handed down at a later date.
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