The trial against Daniel Anderson, 32, for the murder of 19-year-old Joyce Mitchell, who was shot to death on the evening of Thursday, June 17, 2011, came to an end on Thursday, January 28, 2016. He was facing a trial without jury and his fate was decided by Justice Adolph Lucas on Tuesday, February 2. Justice Lucas ruled that the prosecution did not meet the burden of proof to convict Anderson of murder because of numerous discrepancies in witness statements and testimonies.
According to word on the streets, the intended target of the execution on the night in question was Mitchell’s brother but she was sitting on the trunk of a car in front of their home when the gunman unleashed a spray of bullets in that direction. Police investigation led to the arrest of Anderson who was positively identified by Mitchell’s relatives. Mitchell’s mother, Jennifer Staine, and sister, Julia Mitchell, are the main witnesses in the prosecution’s case; however, neither of them supported the presentation in court. Staine recanted her statements to police. In her 2011 statement, Staine told police that she knew her daughter’s killer. She attended an identification parade and positively identified Daniel Anderson as the gunman. However, during the trial she told the court that she never saw the face of the shooter that evening and could not have been able to tell the police who was the killer. Joyce’s sister, Julia, did not show up to testify in court. Her 2011 statement was admitted into evidence by Judge Lucas after Prosecutor Shanice Lovelle was able to prove to the court that she was out of the country and could not make it to the trial. Julia had also positively identified Anderson when she attended an identification parade in 2011.
Anderson was represented by Attorney Simeon Sampson. He gave a statement from the dock in which he told the court that he was in Belmopan on the evening of the murder. He called two alibi witnesses, his girlfriend, Jeneen Jones, and her friend, Desiree Leslie. Both women swore that Anderson was indeed in Belmopan on the evening of the shooting. Justice Lucas rejected those alibi witnesses in his ruling but it was not the defense’s responsibility to prove innocence.
The trial of Anderson began last week Monday, January 18.