Decades After Brutal Murder, Sandra Ruiz’s Killer Sentenced to 30 Years

Decades After Brutal Murder, Sandra Ruiz’s Killer Sentenced to 30 Years

The details of the brutal killing of Sandra Ruiz in 2008 resurfaced in court today when her killer appeared for a fixed-term sentencing.  Darrel Grant was convicted in November 2010, by a 12-member jury, for the 2008 murder of Ruiz.  At his sentencing, Grant was given life imprisonment without a fixed-term sentence which is a mandatory part of the sentencing process when a life sentence is given.  In this case, it took over fifteen years for Grant to get his.  Justice Nigel Pilgrim began the sentencing at 34 years, but had deducted four years based on several factors, including his rehabilitation process in prison, the support shown to him by family members, as well as the social inquiry report presented to the court.  In the courtroom today, Grant apologized to the victim’s family members, saying he was young and immature at the time of the incident.  After the court proceedings, Grant was taken back to the Belize Central Prison where he will remain until 2038 when he will be eligible to apply for parole.  This case goes back to August 11, 2008 when Grant broke into Ruiz’ home on Meighan Avenue, Belize City, and beat her to death with a hammer, in the presence of her daughters, ages eight and thirteen.  Grant then proceeded to injure the 8-year-old child, landing her in a coma for ten days.  Having witnessed the entire ordeal, the elder sister ran out of the house to get help.   Home invasions, at the time, were rare occurrences, and had shaken the King’s Park community.  In the impact statement given by the older daughter, she noted that the smell of her mother’s blood in the house lingers with her to this day.  She said what was taken from her and her sister could never be replaced, and that, quote, “All because of jewellery, I was robbed of my mother, of my sense of safety, and robbed of trusting those around me.”  End of quote.  The daughter, who is now in her 20s says she misses her mom every day and lives in constant fear that the same thing would happen to her.  Echoing the sentiments of loss and heartbreak was Ruiz’ brother, Miguel, who spoke briefly to Court Reporter, Anita Nembhard.

Miguel Ruiz, Brother of the Deceased: “Not a day goes by that we don’t miss our sister. She didn’t deserve that kind of death. My sister was a hard working woman. Dedicated to raising her family. Was a deeply devoted Catholic and a good member of society.” 

Shortly after the incident, the two girls migrated to go live with their father.  Grant’s court-appointed attorney at the time was Dickie Bradley while the matter was prosecuted by Yohhanhseh Cave.  The trial was heard in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas.

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