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Akeem Thurton convicted of attempted murder of SC, Rodwell Williams Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 March 2012 00:00

Akeem ThurtonOn Thursday March 15th, 19 year-old Akeem Thurton became the first Belizean to be convicted since the implementation of the trial by judge system in Belize came into effect. His trial was the first to be tried under such circumstances and at the conclusion of Chief Justice Kenneth A. Benjamin’s 56 minute sum up, he found him guilty of the charge of attempted murder.


In his exact words, CJ Kenneth A. Benjamin stated that, “I did not believe the statement of the accused.  I believe he shot Rodwell Williams and that he had the intention to kill Rodwell Williams.  The crown has proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt.” With that, he told Thurton, who was unrepresented during the trial, that he was guilty.

Still maintaining his innocence that he is a person of good character and that he did not shoot Williams, Thurton blamed the act on his co-conspirator, Ricky Valencia, 28, who was initially charged jointly with him; he was gunned down on Wednesday, February 22, on Queen Charlotte Street,  5 days prior to the start of the trial.Thurton’s sentencing has been deferred for Friday, March 30.

The CJ has ordered a social inquiry into his background and character and informed him that at that time, he can call character witnesses to speak on his behalf in mitigation before he passes a sentence.

After the verdict, Thurton was escorted to the holding cell area by police guards.  Thurton’s mother told us that  her son didn’t get a fair trial because she could not afford an attorney to defend him.

The next case to be tried by a judge without a jury is that of Nicoli Rhys, the son of a police officer charged with the June 10, 2010 murder of Southside Leader, Andre Trapp.

Coincidentally, Trapp was gunned down 10 days after the shooting of Williams.  His shooting occurred in front of the Magistrate’s Court  on Regent Street. Two men were charged initially. Alton Roches and Nocoli Rhys but the DPP had withdrawn the charge against Roches leaving only Rhys to stand trial.

That case may start after Thurton’s sentencing end of this month.