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Deon Slusher re-sentenced to 30 years in prison for 2002 Philip Chin murder

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2024. 8:17 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Now 30-year-old Deon Slusher will serve another 30 years in prison before being eligible for parole in connection with the February 4, 2002 murder of Philip Chin in Belize City after being re-sentenced by the High Court.

Slusher and another were convicted following a trial in 2004. They had been accused of planning to rob Chin of his firearm, and then abducting, shooting, and killing him during the robbery.

But Slusher had initially been sentenced to hang by the trial judge, which was reduced on appeal to life imprisonment in October 2004 with no minimum term. Subsequent legislation introduced as a result of case law requires that persons previously convicted of murder and sentenced to life terms before 2017 must re-appear before the High Court (Supreme Court as it was then) to be fixed either a minimum term of imprisonment before becoming eligible for parole or consideration of whether parole eligibility had been reached.

Justice Pilgrim considered various aggravating and mitigating factors: that the crime had been significantly planned rather than occurring in the spur of the moment; that intelligence was sought on Chin before the attack; and that a firearm was used during the crime. Also, he considered the level of gun violence in Belize and the Caribbean and the deterrent a prison term would provide; that others were involved and the killing’s callous and cruel nature including bragging by Slusher. While no victim impact statements were available, the court was obligated to consider that considerable trauma would be caused to the loved ones of the deceased.

The court also considered Slusher’s confession and subsequent retraction at trial; 19 various prison infractions as well as positive activities while in prison as well as the delay in conducting the sentencing which had been ordered by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) six years ago.

In delivering his judgment, High Court Justice Nigel Pilgrim established the factual matrix for the case: Chin, a land surveyor, owned a .38 Special revolver with his initials scratched on its right side, and Slusher and his friends knew of it and wanted it.

Slusher and others obtained information about Chin from a minor female who was friends with his girlfriend, who hid the gun under her mother’s car which was not working and parked at her house. When Chin sought to find out where his missing firearm was, Slusher and his friends held him up and stole his wallet and money, then sent the females away.

Then, the group tied up Chin and sent the females to rob Chin’s house. On their return, a laughing Slusher told them that he had shot Chin three times in the chest, back and head, before taking him to his pick-up truck.

Slusher told police that it was in fact his friends who had shot Chin, that he had told Chin to be calm so that he would not get hurt, and that he feared for his own life. At trial, however, he insisted he had not been present for the murder and had not seen the women.

At his re-sentencing, Deon Slusher was represented by Dale Cayetano.

 

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