Former Coast Guard Seaman Keyren Tzib Sentenced to Nearly Five Years for Attempted Murder

Former Coast Guard Seaman Keyren Tzib Sentenced to Nearly Five Years for Attempted Murder

After nine years before the courts, former Coast Guard Seaman Keyren Tzib will be going to prison for just under five years for shooting a colleague. Tzib was convicted on March 13 for the attempted murder of 37-year-old Kurt Hyde. Today, she was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison by Justice Candace Nanton at the Belize High Court.  In her breakdown, Justice Nanton said that sentences in similar matters ranged from 8 to 15 years, and so she started Tzib’s sentence at 13 years. She then deducted six years for the delay in having the case concluded, and also for mitigating factors such as Tzib’s upstanding character and years of service to the Belize Coast Guard.  Her attorney, Arthur Saldivar, says that Tzib plans to mount an appeal.

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney at Law: “The offense for which Ms.Tzib had been charged and convicted of was attempt murder and in our jurisdiction generally the range of sentences have been from eight to fifteen years. So one would appreciate that there was a significant reduction although it was being urged on the court that a non custodial sentence would have been most appropriate. We did not get that but we got a significant reduction from the eight to four years ten months. What was taken into consideration in respect of that was the mental state of the offender, the fact that she was not previously convicted, was a person of good character and it was also taken into consideration the fact that there was considerable delay this offense took place in 2015, the trial happened some nine years later in 2024. But there were also matters that I think should have been taken into consideration that were not and we’ll be addressing that on appeal.” 

Reporter: So the status is that she will be appealing, what will she be appealing ? Will she be appealing the conviction ? 

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney at Law: “Both the conviction and the sentence. It’s a very sad situation that has occurred.”

Saldivar said that the psychological factor was not given its due weight in the circumstances, and alleges that Tzib was raped by the victim. He says that it was the trauma from that incident that led Tzib to shoot Hyde in the back of the head. Saldivar says he feels the Belize Coast Guard is partly to blame for the way the situation unfolded.

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney at Law: “In relation to what happened with Ms.Tzib this was a young lady who had no idea the person who raped her was going to be on a boat with her prior to this incident happening. She was already suffering from the trauma, being violated in that way. So one would imagine suffering serious mental illness as a result of being violated by a person in the most horrible way any woman could be violated and being in possession of a weapon and that person also, the violator being in possession of a weapon himself how that would have caused an already impaired mind to react. So my heart goes out because I have a mother, I have sisters, certainly I can understand a person in her position not being control of the full faculties because of the trauma she experienced reacting in the way she reacted. It’s a survival situation. I think literally being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea and making a decision that was not the best but again we judge her from a place of normalcy when she’s not normal in her thinking would be wrong, I think that’s what happened in this case.”

Reporter: As you brought up the topic of Ms.Tzib being victimized sexually, was this ever a report made against the person ? 

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney at Law: “Yes. And it was swept under the rug by Coast Guard. The Coast Guard I believe greater culpability in this matter than MsTzib.”

On April 6, 2015, Tzib was in a Coast Guard vessel with several other colleagues, heading from the Coast Guard Base in San Pedro to its Belize City Headquarters.  It was on that vessel that Tzib pointed an M4 Carbine at Hyde and fired a single shot.  An interesting fact in this trial is that following Tzib’s conviction, a bench warrant had to be issued since she did not show up for sentencing on April 26.

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