Defence Attorney Oscar Selgado says Kareem Martinez was not the one who fired the fatal shot
It was a bombshell allegation today made by defence attorney Oscar Selgado in the Laddie Gillett manslaughter trial. The man who has been charged and is on trial for fatally shooting the teenager is former police officer Kareem Martinez. He was charged with manslaughter following the shooting death of the 14-year-old on July 14 2021 in Placencia. In his final written submission, Selgado put to the court that Martinez was not the officer who fired the fatal shot. He said it was another officer who was present at the time of the incident. It’s a plot twist that no one saw coming. Reporter Vejea Alvarez was at the High Court in Belize City today and files the following report.
Today, in a plot twist Defense Attorney Oscar Selgado stated in his written closing remarks that his client, Kareem Martinez, was not the person who shot and killed 14-year-old Laddie Gillett on July 14, 2021. Salgado stated that PC Claude Augustine, who was with Martinez on that night, stood behind him, fired a shot with his personal firearm, and then picked up the shell casing. It was a bomb shell claim that according to Defence attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley, who was hired by Laddie’s family, led to Justice Antoinette Moore recalling ballistics expert Shirley Lino to the stand.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: ” A judge needs to be extremely careful in looking at every piece of submission that is made. The Crown Counsel who prosecuted Javier Chan did an excellent job in staying focused on the elements of the crime for which the accused has been charged. The one issue in dispute is the defense is saying and submitted that it is – this is an incredible piece of submission – it is police constable Augustine but that it is that police officer that killed Laddie Gillett. That police officer was requested to come to the court by the defense because Javier Chan did not see the need to bring an additional prosecution witness.”
Today’s witness, Shirley Lino, was vigorously questioned by the Judge, the prosecution, and the defense on the trajectory of the bullet and the possibility of Martinez firing a shot in the air that would have caught Laddie. In her limited capacity she stated that it was possible but stated that if the bullet was fired into the air it would have not been able to strike Laddie, who was standing ninety feet away, in the back. And, according to Bradley there was never any evidence of a second shot being fired.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “Nobody has said in court, there is no evidence of two important things one that a shot was fired in the air. The accused has said to the court in his written admission and his his dock statement which is not full evidence but the judge will give it whatever weight she feels it deserves. He has said he took out his police issued firearm and fired one shot at an angle of ten feet in the air that how this confusion has entered.”
While Laddie’s foster family were hoping for a verdict to be delivered today, they were not upset with the Judge’s decision to seek further clarity. Emil Bradley, Laddie’s foster dad, says that Martinez’s claim came out left field and doesn’t hold any water.
Emil Bradley, Laddie’s Foster Dad: “Well that’s his role Mr.Selgado as the defense attorney to try and create doubt within Justice Moore’s mind you know I mean he could jump high, he could jump low he could say what he wants the point is there was evidence of only one shot that had been fired and that shot has been fired from the issued gun by Kareem so it doesn’t matter what he wants to – that’s his role you know ? To create doubt but he knows exactly where this is going and I have strong it’s gonna work on our part. I feel comfortable and I feel like we do have a conviction based on the evidence that is being provided, not what he said but the evidence that has been provided.”
The prosecution also hammered in the point that at no time during the trial did Martinez or any of the other officers state that they felt endangered when they came across Laddie and Thomas Palacio. That’s because in the police manual officers are informed that they are only to discharge their firearm for defending themselves or someone else once in danger. Bradley says the defense’s claim was also disproved by findings in Laddie’s post-mortem examination.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “Doctor Loyden Ken who is a pathologist, he’s a scientist in these matters, did a post mortem in the presence of a police officer and his findings are that Laddie Gillett was shot through his back forty seven centimeters from his head and that bullet exited his chest forty three centimeters from the head so that the bullet is going slightly up through the back and through the chest.”
Both the defense and prosecution were given the opportunity to submit oral submissions, however, the defense chose to rely on their written closing remarks. According to Selgado, that’s because he did not want today’s bombshell to make it out the courtroom.
Oscar Selgado, Attorney for Kareem Martinez: “And I don’t know how you would know. I did not give the media a glimpse of my closing submission that was for the court only and that is why I didn’t want the prosecution or anybody to comment on it because you were there in the court you heard what you heard but the matter is before the court and so I will not breach the ethics of the profession to comment on it as other attorneys have done but you know what is before the court is what is before the court and if I don’t get what I expect I’ll go to the court of appeal. That’s what I’m telling you.”
Justice Antoinette Moore will be delivering her judgment on the matter on April 21, 2023 in Belmopan. Vejea Alvarez Love News.