Another Hung Jury on Felix Brothers’ trial Print E-mail
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Thursday, 15 May 2014 00:00

The murder trial of brothers Emory and Maurice Felix concluded on Tuesday night at around 11p.m with a hung jury. The men were facing murder charges following the shooting death of Mitchum Heredia which occurred on April 10, 2006.

At the conclusion of the trial, a jury of 8 women and 4 men could not reach a  verdict in the case after deliberating for six hours. When they emerged a mistrial was declared. The men have now been remanded back to prison for yet another retrial.

Back in 2007 the Felix brothers had been found guilty of murder and were given life sentences but a year later that conviction was overturned by the Appeal’s Court and a retrial was ordered. In the retrial the jury were deadlocked and could not reach a verdict and a retrial was ordered.

That retrial started in March of this year in Belize City but it was later transferred to Corozal District because of the sensitivity of the case. 

During the trial before Justice Troadio Gonzalez, there were four voidaires, the first being on March 5, 2014 in Belize City when submissions were made by Prosecutor, Sheniza Smith that jurors might be interfered with by the Felix brothers because the prosecution had received information that jurors were interfered with in the previous trial which took place before Justice Herbert Lord in 2012.

 The second voidaire was held with respect to over 100 pages of the previous 2012 murder trial against the brothers. In the transcript Romel Palacio Jr., had testified what had transpired on April 10, 2006.  Romel Palacio Jr. is now dead and unable to give testimony and that was the reason the prosecution sought that the transcripts be admitted. Within this voidaire, Prosecutor Smith had to hold another voidaire to prove that Palacio Jr. was indeed dead since all the prosecution had to prove this was evidence that Palacio Jr. had gone missing from his work site on the Western Highway. A few weeks later police found bones, a piece of skin with two tattoos on it, a boxer shorts and a watch.

She had to prove that those items belonged to the deceased and she called four witnesses during this voidaire.  Her first witness, a young man and tattoo artist testified in the voidaire that it was he who had put the tattoo on Palacio Jr., which was a palm tree along with one of the deceased ex-girlfriend’s name, “Jackie”. That was enough to convince Judge Gonzalez that Palacio was dead and allowed the transcript to be read out in court.

In the transcript, Romel Palacio Jr., said  that he was at home at around 6:30p.m. waiting for the news to come on when he heard dogs barking. When he checked outside he saw the Felix brothers, Emory and Maurice leaning against a red car which was parked in front of his yard. Shortly after, he noticed his friend, Mitchum Heredia driving in his car, and coming into his direction. When he saw it was his friend, he turned and walked back into his yard while Mitchum drove his vehicle into the yard with speed. It was at that point that he saw the Felix brothers run into the yard too.

Maurice, he said, was the first brother to attack.  He came running into the yard and then began to fire shots at him. Fearing for his life, he ran up the verandah of his landlord’s house where he slipped under the verandah and hid there. At that point, Emory, the other brother held up Heredia at gun point and whilst he was still sitting in the car, Maurice ran around the house and joined Emory who had a gun now being held at the head of his friend.

He said then heard Maurice say to Heredia, “Pussy, you deh play.” Then he fired a single shot in the head of his friend, Heredia. He said that then both brothers opened fired at Heredia and from where he was still hiding, he yelled out, “F%*%”, that was when the brothers realized he was still around.

Maurice returned to where he was but never found him. When he came out to check on his friend, he found him riddled with bullets.

Romel Palacio Jr., had known the Felix brothers for over 7-8 years, as he had told the court and police that he and the brothers would sometimes play basketball at the Excelsior High School basketball Court.

The other voidaire held in the trial was when Smith had to make an application to tender into evidence, the investigating officer’s report, which was done by the then Superintendent of police, Chester Williams.  This application was successful too for Prosecutor Smith.

In their defense, both brothers gave sworn testimony as to their whereabouts at the time of the alleged murder.

Both claimed they were elsewhere and nowhere at the murder scene on T-Street.

Maurice’s version was that at the time of the shooting he was at his home located on Sanker Street in the Port Loyola area which is not too far from T-Street. He said that on that day, he left his house at around minutes to 8, but at around 7:10 p.m., that night, when Sgt. Palomo visited his house looking for them as suspects in the shooting/murder, Maurice was not at home.

Maurice claimed he was at home for the remainder of the night and home with him at the time was his mother, now deceased, sister , also now deceased, and two of his nephews.

But during the trial, while he called three witnesses, none of those witnesses were able to help as alibi witness.

His brother Emory’s defense was that at the time of the shooting, he was with a cousin Tyrone Felix also now deceased, along with 2 friends, Cecil Castillo and Brandon Taylor at a mechanic shop, repairing a car.  He said whilst there he never heard any gun shots in the area.

It is of interest to note that both men in their defense said they don’t even play basketball, but Prosecutor, Smith was able to get a copy of an interview done by the men since they were incarcerated on the murder trial in which both men during an interview, told the interviewee that both of their hobbies was basketball.

This piece of evidence was also tendered into evidence in the trial against the men.