Murder suspect gets off in Supreme Court Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 March 2012 00:00

Frank EdwardsOn Monday  March 26th, 2012, 21-year-old Frank Edwards, who was accused of executing a bank  robbery along with three others, was set free in the Supreme Court in Belmopan.

Edwards walked after being charged with the murder of 32-year-old Steven Rudolph Lopez, a Security Guard, who was killed on March 30, 2010 during a bank robbery of the Scotiabank branch in Spanish Lookout, Cayo.

Edwards’ acquittal came at 10:35 a.m. on Monday in the Belmopan Supreme Court before Justice Troadio Gonzalez.  He ruled that the only evidence the police had against the accused was not admissible into trial. He concluded that at the end of a voir dire, which took place on March 21. Judge Gonzalez ruled that Edwards’ caution statement that he gave to police was not obtained voluntarily and in accordance to the laws of the country.  He noted that, based on evidence, it was determined that Edwards was beaten horrendously as he claimed, that he was tortured by police after being shocked and left with many visible injuries to the body. Highlighting the injuries was a statement by the examining doctor, who said that Edwards had laceration to the body.  He had injuries to his throat as a gun was put in his mouth while being interrogated. He also had first and second degree burns to the feet, hands, and body.

After the judge ruled the statement inadmissible in the trial, Senior Crown Counsel, Cecil Ramirez closed his case stating that the crown’s only evidence against Edwards was the caution statement.   The judge then directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty setting him free of the murder.

On March 30th, 2010, the Spanish Lookout branch office of Scotiabank was robbed. At the time, four men arrived at the bank in a white Suzuki Tracker. Three of the men entered the bank; two of the men wore masks while the third was unmasked. The three armed men stormed into the bank first approaching the security guard posted at the entrance. They then made their way into the bank where the manager was held at gunpoint and tellers were ordered to fill up bags with cash.  At the end of the robbery, the men made off with $300,000 in US, Belize and Canadian currency. Before leaving, the men fired three shots at security guard, Steven Rudolph Lopez killing him.

 Of the three men plus others believed to have been involved in the heist, only Edwards was captured and charged in 2010. Two of the men including  Benjamin Peters and another, who was never caught after they managed to escape over the Guatemala border after the robbery/murder, were later killed during an alleged robbery in Guatemala.  The fourth alleged suspect was never captured or charged.