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Danny Ku sentenced to 23 years for stabbing wife 32 times Print E-mail
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Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

danny ku.jpg - 57.44 KbChief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has sentenced Danny Ku, 37, to 23 years imprisonment after he accepted a plea deal on Monday, February 13, 2017 for killing Nurse Anna Basto on September 2, 2006. Ku was convicted of murder on December 16, 2006 but he appealed the conviction and a retrial was ordered by the Court of Appeals on October 13, 2011. His retrial was set to commence on February 13 but after the facts of the case were read he submitted a guilty plea for a lesser charge of manslaughter. Prosecutors in the case, Shanielle Chell and Javier Chan of the DPP’s office, accepted the guilty plea and Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin handed down his sentence on Monday, February 20, after mitigation plea was heard on his behalf.

During mitigation, Ku’s brother, Freddy Ku, spoke on his behalf. The Lieutenant Junior Grade Coast Guard told the court that his brother has taken responsibility for his actions and he is not a bad person. The brother he knew growing up was “our protector, always looking over us”.  He helped their parents in the cane field, was good with mathematics and made sure they all did their homework on time. Freddy said if the court allows his brother to go home he is prepared to open his home to him since he has been rehabilitated and deserves a second chance in society. The crown asked the court to consider imposing a 25 year sentence even after they shared a number of cases ranging from 12 to 25 years. Danny said, “I was working at a Papaya plantation in Corozal town before this. At the time, my relationship with Basto was not well. We had a lot of domestic disputes.” He spoke well of his wife saying, “She was very kind, understanding, and tolerant. I deeply feel at a loss, more so since I am the one who took her life.” He said he has already apologized to her family, friends and the entire nursing community. “Nurse Basto was an excellent worker, mother and common-law wife,” said Danny. 

During the first trial, Ku had denied killing Basto saying that he was not even at home at the time of the incident. During the trial however, it was revealed that on the day that Basto was killed Ku had called the police around 7:30 p.m. leaving a voice message saying that he had just killed his wife. He even left a number for the police to call him for more information. Ku told police that Basto was the one who had harmed herself after he had threatened to leave her and end their relationship. He claimed that on the day of the killing Basto had threatened to kill herself and that’s when he began to choke her to prevent her from doing so. He claims it was during this time that Basto had cut herself on the neck. He added that she did not die immediately and when he saw her suffering he took a screwdriver and inflicted wounds to make her die quicker. In his testimony, Police Pathologist Dr. Mario Estradabran told the court that Basto was first stabbed with the screwdriver then her throat was slashed three times with one of the wounds causing damage to her esophagus and trachea area causing her death. Doctor Estradarban also observed Ku on the day of the murder and observed that he had bite marks and multiple fingernails impressions. Nurse Basto was found inside her home opposite the Orange Walk Hospital where she worked. She was wrapped in a white sheet. Ku claimed that Basto told him, “I have a man who sex me ten times better than you,” and that was what set him off.

Justice Kenneth Benjamin in his ruling said he took into consideration the fact that Ku pled guilty to manslaughter. He also took into consideration the fact that he turned himself into police after taking a taxi to the border. Instead of going through with his attempt to flee, he turned back, called the Orange Walk police station then handed himself in. He also took into consideration the mitigating and aggravated factors in the matter. However, the victim was stabbed 32 times with a screw driver and her throat slashed with a surgical blade so violently that it cut through to damage her windpipe. With that Ku was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Time served on remand and the original sentence will be deducted. This is approximately ten years.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2017 17:20
 
Bulgarians ordered to return stolen money to Belize Bank Print E-mail
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Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

The last time we reported on Jeorgi Petrov, 28, and Halid Yuksel Aptula, 25, the two Bulgarians accused of a massive credit card scam, the Belize Bank had agreed to sit down and talk with their legal representatives in an effort to recover funds. Oscar Selgado, attorney for Aptula, has not provided any information since but it appears that significant progress was made because the convicted fraudsters are going to return money to the bank. On Friday, February 17, 2017, Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser ordered the men to return the majority of $21,750 to the Belize Bank after the state had applied for the forfeiture of the total sum.

The prosecution’s position was that the $21,750 seized by police at the Bulgarians’ apartment were all proceeds of the crime; however, both claim they had personal cash at the time that they were using to survive on. Petrov and Aptula were arraigned in the Belize City Magistrates Court for one count of theft on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. According to the facts of the case, on Saturday, May 7, 2016 the men visited the Belize Bank ATM on Albert Street and withdrew $500 from an account at the bank that does not belong to them. An employee of the bank, who was already aware that the bank was looking for these men, alerted police and the men were detained. Police conducted a search of the men’s apartments and confiscated 1,100 fake credit cards, 250 blank plastic cards, two Nova laptops, over $21,000 in Belize currency, two cellphones and a Honda Civic four door car. Apparently, these men were scamming international bank cards, with the ability to withdraw funds from anywhere in the world. They chose Belize as the location to make the withdrawal and targeted the Belize Bank’s cash flow. They managed to get the pin numbers of the victims they were stealing from by installing hidden cameras at ATMs for banks outside of Belize. They then made fake credit cards and used the stolen pin numbers to make withdrawals of their own. The theft happened on several different occasions from January of 2016 to the last Saturday in May. They managed to take thousands of dollars during that run.

The men appeared in court before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser where a charge for theft was read to them. They were later convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment. Their prison sentence is almost up but on Friday, February 17, they appeared in court for a forfeiture application by Government. Senior Magistrate Fraser ruled that the sum of $8,000 for which Petrov pleaded guilty to for the offense of 18 counts of theft from the Belize Bank ATM is to be taken out from the $21,750. She also ruled that the sum of $6,800, for which Aptula pleaded guilty to 18 counts of theft in the same matter is to be taken out from the $21,750. In total, $14,800 will be deducted from the sum of $21,750. That leaves $6,950 which she ordered them to share equally.

Only Petrov will be able to collect his money upon release since according to Prosecutor Hector Rodriguez there are additional charges to be levied against Aptula, the alleged mastermind behind the theft.

 


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