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Two cops on trial for manslaughter

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019. 6:54 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Four years ago, a teenager detained by police over an alleged burglary died in their custody on the island of Caye Caulker.

The trial of Corporal Leonard Nunez and PC Hallett King, cops attached to Caye Caulker police and initially charged with murder, later reduced to manslaughter, began before Supreme Court Justice Collin Williams and a jury today.

The parents of deceased, Hilberto Sotz, began testimony.

His father said he had been with his son on the morning of June 8 around 10:00 a.m. when police came to detain him.

Sotz’s parents recounted before the court how they were informed of Hilberto’s death: his father got the news while at work; his mother was informed at home by two officers including one of the accused, Corporal Nunez.

At the health clinic, the doctor told Sotz’s father that his son was already dead when he got to the clinic. He observed swelling to the throat area and that he was wet over his body.

Sotz’s mother said she had last seen her son earlier in the day in high spirits. The next time she saw him, he was lying dead on a bed, his neck showing marks she had never seen before. The officers who spoke to her said Hilberto had died from “breathing problems,” but his parents said he was generally healthy before his death.

Both parents identified Corporal Leonard Nunez in court, but Mr. Sotz called defendant King “Leon,” a name he reportedly goes by, and Mrs. Sotz said she did not know the name of the taller officer who came with Nunez to her house to make the formal announcement of Hilberto’s death.

Prosecutor is Crown Counsel, Porsha Staine-Ferguson. PC Hallett King is being represented by defense attorney, Herbert Panton, while Corporal Leonard Nunez is being represented by defense attorney, Oscar Selgado.

The trial continues on Thursday, June 13.


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