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Not guilty of Masterminding a Murder Print E-mail
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Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00

Aracely Cahueque, 21, the woman who was accused in October 2010 of soliciting the help of 3 men to murder 18 year-old Raylene Dyer so that she could get control of her baby, was acquitted in her Supreme Court Trial on Friday, March 21, 2014. She becomes the fourth defendant to walk in connection with Dyer’s murder.

 Since Wednesday, March 12, Cahueque began standing trial before Justice Denis Hanomansingh and a jury of her peers for 3 counts of abetment to murder. The accusation against her was that she hired the 3 men who were accused of the actual killing to get it done on her behalf. Police said that she had done it because she wanted Raylene Dyer’s 3 month-old baby, Ravonne Dyer. Investigators believed that her intention was to try to fool her boyfriend into believing that she became pregnant for him, and that he needed to support her and this baby that they supposedly shared together.

Cahueque’s trial began with a voidaire in which her attorney, Dickey Bradley, challenged a caution statement that she supposedly gave to police. In this statement, police say that she admitted to certain things in connection with Raylene’s baby, which legitimized their suspicions against her. When taken in combination with the statements that accused Darren Banner, Jason Anderson, and Brandon Budna, provided them with the full picture of how Raylene Dyer’s last few hours alive went.

Bradley was able to convince Justice Hanomansingh that this statement was inadmissible as evidence against his client because police brutalized her into giving it, subjecting Cahueque to pain and terror forcing her into believing she had no choice but to give the statement. She claimed that investigating officers threatened to shoot her and report that she tried to escape. The intimidation continued where they handcuffed her, and a female officer used a bat to hit her all over her body. She testified before Justice Hanomansingh alone that they put a bag over her head and stifled her until she agreed to give it.

With that statement thrown out of the case, Crown Counsels Kayshia Grant and Cecil Ramirez called Brandon Budna as a witness against Cahueque. Budna was one of the 3 men acquitted of Raylene Dyer’s murder. After spending more than 3 years on remand, being subjected to a full murder trial, where he had to fight for his freedom, the DPP’s Office hoped that he would be the main witness to help them successfully prosecute Cahueque.

 Budna was called to the stand on Monday afternoon, March 17, as crown witness. It was revealed that while he was on remand at the Belize Central Prison, Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal asked to meet with him. In that meeting she discussed with him if he was interested in giving a witness testimony in which he would outline Cahueque’s involvement in Raylene’s murder.

DPP Vidal was called as a witness in the case in which she told the court she laid out her reasons and the conditions that would apply to the statement, should Budna agree to cooperate. Vidal told the court that her office sought only to get justice, and that from the police’s inquiry, it was unjust that the woman who was being implicated as the mastermind, would not be prosecuted for her involvement. She said that she explained carefully to Budna that if he gave the statement to police, he would gain no favour in his own case from it, and that it wouldn’t be used against him in his own trial, which would take place first. Vidal said that she was clear to him that if he agreed he would only be doing so because it was the right thing to do and that Cahueque would face the consequences of her actions just like the rest of them. Dickey Bradley cross-examined Vidal challenging the decision for police to have taken a statement from Budna which would in effect implicate himself while he was awaiting trial for murder.

 Budna’s statement which he gave to police to assist the DPP was tested in Cahueque’s trial, and at the end, Justice Hanomansingh ruled that this statement could not be admitted as evidence against Cahueque. In coming to his decision, the judge had tough criticism for DPP Vidal calling her actions unethical that she, as the chief prosecuting authority, would approach an accused person who was already charged for a crime to give such a written statement.

With no evidence against Cahueque, the crown, which had some 16 more witnesses to call, was forced to close their case. Justice Hanomansingh, then directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty, setting Aracely Cahueque free. Enraged at the outcome, Raylene Dyer’s family got into a war of words and a fist fight with the Cahueque family who was overjoyed that she was finally going to go home after 3 years on remand.

DPP Vidal has given a comment to the media on the outcome saying, quote “…I will continue to show the greatest respect for the bench and for the administration of justice, I therefore have no response to the comments made by the judge, other than that I will very promptly file an appeal.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 14:31