Police Sergeant Charged for Murder Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00

Sergeant Julio Shal,41, an officer attached to the Placencia Police Station, has been charged with murder for the death of Tyson Rodriguez, the main suspect in the home invasion of an elderly Canadian couple, which happened 2 weeks ago on the Placencia peninsula.

Shal, the senior officer who was with Rodriguez on the night he died, was arraigned on Tuesday in Dangriga Magistrate’s Court and was remanded to prison until March 13, 2014, his next court date.

The charge was brought with the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions because new evidence came to light from an eyewitness which refuted the version of events presented by Shal and the 2 constables who were with him that night. As the Guardian had reported in our previous issue, the officers told their superiors and the investigators that on November 22, at around 10 p.m., Rodriguez indicated that he intended to cooperate with their investigation. He offered to take them to an area where he and his accomplices hid some of the loot they had stolen from the Canadian couple the night before. They claimed that he jumped out of the moving vehicle, while handcuffed, and ran to the beach where he supposedly drowned. This sudden demise, they claim, they didn’t even witness; they only happened to stumble on his body after losing sight of Rodriguez briefly.

As we had also reported, a post-mortem conducted by Dr. Mario Estradabran was in complete conflict with the version of events reported by these officers. Dr. Estradabran found that Rodriguez died from inhaling sand; he also found wounds on Rodriguez’s chest. Based on these findings, the family suspected strongly that he was beaten and then his head was shoved in the sand until he suffocated. The eyewitness who came forward with new evidence has presented a version which is consistent with the findings of the post-mortem results, and which implicates only Shal.

Rodriguez’s family told the media that they are pleased with the progress of the investigation, but they are not satisfied because they believe that the 2 constables should also face charges as well, since they were with Shal.

Rodriguez was caught some 15 hours before his death all the way on the Corozal district. He was allegedly one of the 2 men Corozal police spotted in a vehicle stolen from the Canadian couple. Police believed that he was either involved in or had information on the culprits who allegedly terrorized the Canadian retirees at their house in the Plantation area of the peninsula. 3 men beat the couple senselessly, robbed them of their possession, stole their vehicle and drove it some 200 miles away trying to escape police, as a part of some vehicle theft racket.

Rodriguez’s mother, through her attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, has said that she does not condone any crime that her son may or may not have committed. According to Matura-Shepherd, she would have supported the police had they arrested, charged, and imprisoned her son, if they could prove that he was involved in that incident.

It is noteworthy that in 2004 Shal had been charged for attempted murder for shooting a man in his right arm in San Ignacio. Shal beat that charge.