Thursday, July 2nd, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: A jury of 6 men and 6 women is deliberating today in the court of the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to see if it can reach a verdict for 30 year old Donicio Salazar, aka “Life’, charged with the murder of Rodney Richard August.
The incident occurred between 2:30 and 3 p.m. on June 28, 2004. According to the evidence, August was sitting on the bank of the Macal River in San Ignacio socializing with a female friend, Janelle Longsworth, when his assailant chopped him in his back. August succumbed to his injury shortly after 11 P.m. at Western Regional Hospital. Before he died he told 3 persons that it was Life who chopped him.
The 3 persons testified. They included his mother, Elizabeth Mejia, Justice of the Peace Desol Neal and Pedro Ical, who was a police corporal at the time. Salazar testified that at the time of the incident he was at home recovering from a stab wound he had received about a month before the incident. He called 2 witnesses to support his alibi. They included his mother, Soledad Salazar, and Verona Chacon, a family friend.
Both of them said that Salazar was at home at the time of the incident. The trial is Salazar’s third. At the first trial, which occurred in 2006, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. He appealed and Belize Court of Appeal set his quashed his conviction, set his sentence aside and ordered a retrial.
The retrial was ordered on the ground that the main witness, Janelle Longsworth, did a dock identification of the accused and the trial judge did not address the jury regarding dock identification.
At the first retrial Salazar was acquitted on a no case to answer submission. It was during that time he was arrested and charged with another murder. The DPP appealed his acquittal and Belize Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a second retrial.
At the first retrial the main witness, Janelle Longsworth, was out of the country and a transcript of the trial was admitted as evidence. But at the second retrial the transcript was not admitted as evidence.
Salazar is being represented by attorney Oscar Selgado while the Crown is being represented by Crown Counsel Linsbert Willis.
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