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Justice delayed: Khaleel Ponce walks free from a double murder charge over constitutional rights violation

Posted: Sunday, January 15, 2023. 5:08 pm CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: After eight years on remand for double murder, 27-year-old Khaleel Ponce is a free man after the High Court of Belize dismissed his case on Friday.

Ponce’s attorney, Ronell Gonzalez, submitted to the court that eight years on remand at the Belize Central Prison without facing a trial was a violation of his constitutional right to a trial within a reasonable time.

Justice Susan Lamb accepted the submission, noting that the case had seen several delays including changes to attorneys and judges, all of which were not the fault of the defendant. Lamb also said that the trial against Ponce could not fairly proceed because the original case file was somehow lost and proceeding with the trial would mean doing so with copies of the original, which could not be authenticated.

With that, Ponce, who had been on remand since August 1, 2014, was a free man.

The victims, 42-year-old Alida Ascencio, 52-year-old Carlos Mayorga, and two other women were preparing ingredients for selling tacos when two armed men barged into the home and stole $2,000. The men forced all four victims to kneel before shooting them. Two of the victims would survive the ordeal. Not long after the incident, police charged Khaleel Ponce with 2 counts of murder, 2 counts of attempted murder, 2 counts of dangerous harm, and 2 counts of using deadly means of harm.

 

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