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Jared Ranguy fires attorney, declines guilty plea – trial to be held in a month

Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2023. 1:30 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: High Court Justice Ricardo O’Neil Sandcroft has set a month’s adjournment to allow 36-year-old Jared Ranguy to either find a new attorney or prepare to represent himself, and otherwise get ready for a trial that would have started today.

Ranguy turned the court on its head today by confirming that he would not take a guilty plea on three counts of murder and dropping his court-appointed attorney, Orson Elrington, saying he felt he was being pressured into a guilty plea.

Elrington confirmed for the court that he had been released from representing Ranguy as of Wednesday – and then it was the prisoner’s turn.

Ranguy maintained that it was his attorney’s idea to pursue the sentencing indication hearing held on Monday and advice to plead guilty, to which he, Ranguy, said he wanted to think about it. Having done so, he continued, he said he did not trust his decision and confirmed he would not be pleading guilty.

He also made other allegations concerning Elrington’s representation and first claimed he wanted to represent himself, but also claimed to be seeking new legal counsel. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was served with a letter from Marine Parade Chambers, whose principal is Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith.

Reports say this is the sixth attorney to represent Ranguy since his arrest in 2012. The prisoner is confirmed to be under suicide watch at the Central Prison in Hattieville where he has been held since his arrest, after allegedly threatening prison officials that he would harm himself.

A concerned Justice Sandcroft took notes and initially ordered the trial to commence this afternoon, the witnesses for the prosecution represented by Crown Counsel Porsha Staine-Ferguson already being present. After hearing from Ranguy and Elrington, he decided on a month’s postponement and set a trial date for May 2. As with all murder trials it will be tried by a judge alone.

Ranguy is being accused of killing 3 family members, his mother, sister, and stepfather, on November 25, 2012, on Marage Road, Ladyville, Belize District. At Monday’s hearing, Justice Sandcroft said a guilty plea would have netted him 40 years to life imprisonment on each count, deducting time served on remand. It is not clear if capital punishment would be reconsidered but if it is not, life imprisonment remains the maximum sentence, with a set time to serve before possible parole.


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