By Aaron Humes Freelance Reporter
Deon Bruce, 28, got bad news on Friday in the #1 Magistrate’s Court, after Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith ordered that he be extradited to Cook County, Illinois, U.S.A. to stand trial for murder and attempted murder among other charges.
The Belizean is accused of shooting death of Aaron Carter and injuring Bryan Rodgers on July 20, 2010, around 4:35 p.m. in Chicago, Illinois, following an argument on a freeway.
One of the men allegedly tossed a pint bottle at Bruce’s car.
Belize police arrested Bruce last July. Immediately after his detention, there arose allegations of attempts to avoid the extradition process and spirit him back to the U.S., but Bruce’s attorneys intervened and the formal hearing took place in December.
At that hearing, attorney Godfrey Smith asked the Chief Magistrate to carefully study the evidence provided by U.S. authorities in furtherance of their extradition request, to see if it is sufficient to commit Bruce for trial.
This includes the testimony of the only witness, who was said to have picked Bruce out of a police photo identification line-up, and the police officer who witnessed the identification.. The point was raised that their descriptions of the alleged trigger man appeared to differ.
Bruce was said to be living in the U.S. for a time but came home thereafter.
Smith did not give a formal interview to reporters following the handing down of the decision, but he did confirm that he would meet with his client and Bruce’s family to determine the way forward.
Bruce now has 15 days to challenge the decision with a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court.
The decision reverses a string of defeats for international authorities seeking wanted fugitives in Belize, with one of the latest being Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington’s decision last week to release 45-year-old Rhett Fuller.