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Cops Convicted of Manslaughter

Cops Convicted of Manslaughter
July 19
20:25 2019

Four years after the tragic death of Caye Caulker resident Hilberto Sotz, 18 in a holding cell at the Caye Caulker Police Station, justice has finally been served on his behalf and the two cops accused of beating him to death are now behind bars at the Belize Central Prison.

On Monday of this week Corporals Leonard Nunez and Hallet King were both found guilty of manslaughter by a jury of nine. Both cops were out on bail but on Monday after the verdict was handed down they were both detained and taken into custody and sent to the Belize Central Prison where they will await their sentencing by Justice Colin Williams on August 6th, 2019.

During the trial, the prosecution’s main witness, a man who was detained inside one of the cells on the same night Sotz was killed, testified that he heard Sotz screaming while he was being beaten. He also claimed that he later witnessed as the two officers extracted Sotz’s unresponsive body from out of the cellblock.

As part of the trial, the jury was taken on a tour of the cellblock where Sotz was beaten, and after deliberating for four hours they rejected the cops’ version that they did not beat Sotz and issued a guilty verdict.

In June 2015 Sotz had been detained at the Police Station in connection to a burglary on the island. While he was in detention he suspiciously became unresponsive and when he was taken to the Caye Caulker Polyclinic he was declared dead. A post mortem examination later revealed that Sotz had died of respiratory failure as a result of physical injuries inflicted on him. Both officers were initially charged for murder but the charge was later downgraded to manslaughter.

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