The Belize City Magistrates Court was crowded on Thursday, January 14, but not with spectators. There were a total of 18 individuals appearing in court in connection with one incident, the home invasion of Lebanon’s Honorary Consul, Sarkis Abou Nehra.
His Excellency Sarkis Bou Nehra was out of the country when his home was invaded by armed gunmen on Thursday, December 3. According to police, Tyrone Meighan, Brandon Baptist, John Grinage, Jerson Grinage, Sheldon Grinage, Randolph Coleman and others forced themselves into Bou Nehra’s residence. Police say they held the caretaker of the property at gunpoint and forced him into the main residence. The men then proceeded to steal three 9 mm pistols, one 12 gauge shotgun, one .22 rifle and one Pietrro Berreta Single Action Shotgun. They also made off with an assortment of jewelry, one black DVR player, one leopard styled Diane Von Fursteinberg purse, a collection of alcoholic beverages, additional items and $11,500 cash. During the home invasion, the wife of the caretaker was raped by one of the robbers. Adding insult to injury, her blue Alcatel cellular phone and $388 cash was also taken away.
Police launched an intense investigation and got a break when their attention was drawn to a vehicle at Blue Bar in Ladyville. The car, a Vitara, was searched by police and some of the stolen items were identified. This resulted in what Sr., Superintendent Edward Broaster, Officer Commanding Rural Belize, refers to as a “snowball” after which 19 individuals were arrested and charged for various crimes relating to the incident.
Thursday was the first time that all defendants charged in connection with the home invasion were to be before the court. The group of 189 includes Tyrone Meighan, Brandon Baptist, John, Gerson, Sheldon and Lane Grinage, Randolph Coleman Jr, Ashanti Roaches, Kamisha Cacho, Malik Pitts, Monique Cadle, Paul Jex Jr., Paul Jex Sr., Paula Jex, Pauline Jex, Jeffery James Buller Jr., Anthony Smith and a female minor. Representing some of the accused were attorneys Dickie Bradley, Arthur Saldivar, Alifah Elrighton and Bryan Neal. The matter was adjourned for March 15 when it is expected that the accused will be provided with their disclosure in the matter. The charges include rape, conspiracy to commit rape, abetment to rape, aggravated burglary and handling stolen goods.
Crystal Augustine was a no show in court and a bench warrant was issued for her detention. Her bail will likely be revoked for missing a court date.