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Jaylen Herrera, former uncooperative witness in murder case, charged with murder of Sean Menzies

Posted: Friday, November 24, 2023. 8:59 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: A former witness for the prosecution who is alleged to have gone back on his prior statements in testifying during the trial of Eric Miranda and Jeffery Contreras is now accused, as he previously was, of also participating in the killing of Sean Menzies Senior on November 18, 2020.

Jaylen Alexander Herrera, 20, previously charged as a minor along with Miranda and Contreras, is accused again of murder as well as perjury and perverting the course of justice.

The Western Paradise resident is accused of participating in the murder of Menzies, a popular manager for drinks giant Bowen and Bowen, at his home on Castle Street. After receiving immunity in exchange for testifying against the perpetrators, Herrera is alleged, on June 9 in the High Court, with intent to obstruct the course of justice, to have given an untrue statement on oath at the High Court which he knew to be false.

Due to the nature of the offense, no plea was taken and as explained to him by the Senior Magistrate, no bail could be granted due to the nature of the offense and he was further remanded into custody at the Belize Central Prison until January 23, 2024.

But no answer was forthcoming to his question in court, at least not from the Senior Magistrate: “How can I get charged for something [that] two persons have already been found guilty of?”

On Tuesday, November 21, the directive to charge Herrera came from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Police went to make the arrest after removing Herrera from the Central Prison where he is being held on another murder charge.

Sources close to the case say the prosecution agreed to immunize Herrera from charges in exchange for testifying against Miranda and Contreras during their murder trial, which ended in conviction before Justice Ricardo O’Neil Sandcroft. Still, he became a hostile witness after contradicting his 2020 statement to police from the witness stand. He is further accused of giving untrue statements while under oath.

The testimony of another Crown witness, the now deceased Iran Jones, in which he identified Contreras and Miranda running from the area and then seeing one of the men hand over the weapon believed to be used in the murder. Jones disappeared after his testimony and was found dead in a shallow grave days later.

Justice Sandcroft found Miranda and Contreras guilty on November 2 and will sentence them on December 7.

 

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