Five Guatemalan men who were convicted in March of 2011 for their plot to kill Jose Shoman, Jr. and his family back in December 2008 have appealed their sentences.
The five men, Miguel Mayorga, Eswin Fabian Rosalez, Carlos Juarez, Jose Ismael Cordova, and Cesar Junior Aldana are hoping to get their conviction overturned.
Their attorney in the matter was Hubert Elrington while the DPP herself, Cheryl Lynn Vidal represented the Crown in this matter.
Elrington argued on eight grounds on behalf of the men. They included, that the trial judge erred in law in leaving the case to the jury without giving the jury the directions and warnings in a case where the evidence was solely visual identification evidence.
He also argued that the judge erred when he permitted the witness, Eric Alexander Miranda to make a dock identification of Eswin Rosales, Jose Ismael Cordova, Carlos Juarez and Cesar Junior Aldana and Miguel Mayorga. He stated that it was wrong for the judge to allow the witness to conduct an dock identification of them. He also argued that the judge erred when he left the case to the jury without giving them an adequate direction on conspiracy and joint enterprise.
After the Court of Appeal judges heard from both Elrington and the Crown, they concluded that there were a number of discrepancies in the trial but they will leave their ruling for a later date so they can consider all they heard.
The five Guatemalans were accused and convicted of conspiracy and firearm charges. The group was sentenced by Justice Adolph Lucas in March 2011. They were sentenced to ten years each for conspiracy to commit robbery. On the charge of conspiracy to commit murder, Miguel Mayorga and Cesar Aldana got an additional fourteen years, while Rosalez, Juarez and Cordova got twelve years. Mayorga will serve an additional eight years for firearm and ammunition offences, for which the other four men were acquitted. The sentences are to run concurrently, which is a total of fourteen years for Mayorga and Aldana and twelve for Rosalez, Juarez and Cordova. Judge Lucas told Mayorga that the reason for the fourteen-year sentence was because he facilitated the planning session at his house and for providing the weapons. As for Aldana, he was seen as a ringleader as he tried to lure two of Shoman’s employees into helping them gain access to the property. The plan was to invade Shoman’s house, rob him and murder his family.But employees, Eric Miranda and Hector Perez, who were asked to assist in the crime, alerted Shoman and the police. Francisco “Pancho” Martinez was also identified as a mastermind behind the plot. He was released on bail and absconded to Mexico where he is in prison for other offences.