Farmer kills two men defending his property Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:00

Edison Johnson, a 50-year-old businessman and farmer from Guinea Grass Village, has been charged and arraigned for two counts of murder after he shot and fatally wounded two men, who he says were trespassing on his farm on Friday, April 11.

The men he killed are 23 year-old Saul Eliseo Garcia, a labourer of Rhaburn Ridge Village, and 24 year-old Luke Cox of Carmelita Village.

Johnson’s farm is located between miles 46 and 47 on the Northern Highway, and it is in a remote area, some 1 and a half miles in rough terrain, where there are no other houses nearby. The family hadn’t been to the farm for almost a week, and during that time, thieves burnt their farm down, tore off parts of the roofing for their 2 houses, and stole all the valuable items they had in the houses. That’s how Johnson found his property, where he had invested his family’s savings as a sort of retirement plan.

So, when he saw a red pickup truck reversed into his yard and Garcia and Cox jumping out of this vehicle, he thought that they had come back to continue burglarizing his houses. That’s when he grabbed his shotgun and shouted at both men who tried to flee; and he fired a single shot at both of them. Both Garcia and Cox were struck by pellets of the shotgun blast in their abdomen area, and even the vehicle they were fleeing toward sustained damage. The driver of the vehicle, a third man who didn’t exit, managed to speed off after the gunshot went off, and he left his companions to their own devices.

Cox was the first person Johnson saw go down, and so he immediately called police who came, processed the scene, and retrieved his body. Almost 14 hours later, Orange Walk investigators returned back to the farm and discovered Garcia’s body about 200-300 yards from where Cox had fallen and died from his injuries. He was also retrieved by police, and transported to the KHMH morgue.

Superintendent Dennis Arnold, the officer commanding Orange Walk Police, told the media that after taking certain statements and sending them to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, his investigators received instructions that they were allowed to bring formal charges, so Johnson was charged with 2 count of murder on Sunday, April 13. He was arraigned in the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court the following day, and because there is no bail for murder, he was remanded until May 13.

His family is distraught about his predicament because they believe that he shot both men in defence of his property, which has now been destroyed. His wife says that Johnson was the family’s main breadwinner, and that apart from the challenge of having to fight a murder trial, they will have to survive without his help.

 On the other side of this controversial shooting is the family of Saul Garcia. His sister told the media that he didn’t go to the farm to steal from anyone. She says that he went there to collect payment he was promised, and that he was led astray to his death. The Garcia family wants police to investigate the persons who led Garcia to that farm, which caused his death.