Posted: Monday, November 28, 2022. 4:21 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Even before the discovery of the suspected remains of 66-year-old Ladyville businessman Owen Tucker in the Belize River Valley this afternoon, police say they were led to the suspect, 40-year-old York Street, Belize City taxi driver Jerome Crawford, by various pieces of evidence, revealing means, motive and opportunity.
First, according to Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, while joining the family of Tucker to locate him when he was first reported missing, “Over the weekend, we had a breakthrough when we interviewed certain persons and certain information was obtained. That information we obtained led to the search of the home of [Crawford], who resides in Belize City; at the home, we found one 12-gauge shotgun, which we believe is the weapon of choice used to murder Mister Tucker.”
Despite Crawford’s refusing to cooperate with the investigation after being taken into custody by police, that investigation, according to the Commissioner, has so far revealed that “Crawford had an issue with Tucker over money – Crawford is a former employee of Tucker and they had some issue over money, and Crawford went to the farm where Tucker was and he shot Tucker with the shotgun, and wrapped his body in a rug and took it to dispose of it.”
Responding to claims that Police needed the body to be absolutely sure of a conviction, the Commissioner cited the Jamaica case of Adidja Palmer, alias the entertainer Vybz Kartel, who was convicted of the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams despite his body so far not being found. Police need only convince the Director of Public Prosecutions, whose office must then convince the court at the trial, that Tucker is dead, died from harm, that the harm was unlawful, that the harm was caused by Crawford, and that at the time Crawford caused the harm, his intent was to unlawfully cause the death. The DPP’s office has been assisting in the investigation.
“Our case is more than circumstantial at this time, at least to the extent of him [Crawford] shooting the man and wrapping him in the rug; we have direct evidence where that is concerned. And again, [as] I said, we will try to do more to make the case stronger. I always believe that in any prosecution, you can never have too much evidence; you can have too little. So, the more we get, the better it’s going to be for us,” the Commissioner said. As to intent, he added, the position of the shooting suggests requisite intent, as Tucker was shot in the upper body rather than in an arm or leg.
The vehicle believed to be used to remove Tucker’s body from the murder scene has been recovered and impounded and a Luminol test for blood evidence indicated blood was found in the trunk of the vehicle, samples of which have been sent for DNA testing.
Interestingly, Crawford was active in the search for Tucker’s body before being arrested, prompting the Commissioner to say that it is “the easiest thing” for a killer to return to the scene of his crime and pretends he knows nothing in order to deceive.
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