Man Avoids Life Sentence, Pleads to Manslaughter in Wife’s Death

Man Avoids Life Sentence, Pleads to Manslaughter in Wife’s Death

A man who killed his wife, buried her in a shallow grave, and led police to her body, was spared a life sentence today when he accepted a lesser charge of manslaughter. In 2020, a 39-year-old mother of three, Julia Milian Moran, vanished from her home in Santa Cruz Village in the Stann Creek District. The woman had been missing for days, when the sister and the husband, 55-year-old, Jorge Arturo Leon filed a missing person’s report. Nine days after that missing report was filed, Leon led police to a farm on the Stann Creek Valley Road where the woman’s badly decomposed body was found. Leon, a Guatemalan national, was then charged with her murder, but today he saw that charge reduced to manslaughter. Outside the courtroom, his attorney, Hurl Hamilton spoke about the Crown’s decision. 

Hurl Hamilton, Attorney: “The Crown had offered him a manslaughter plea rather than proceeding to trial on the charge initially which was murder. Mr.Jorge Leon decided or opted to plea guilty to manslaughter rather than going to trial for the murder charge. Well, after the learned judge had heard mitigation witnesses, heard from Jorge Leon himself and heard from defense counsel the judge decided that in these circumstances what would have been appropriate and indeed what she passed on was a sentence of 14 years imprisonment for Jorge Leon for the crime of manslaughter. It’s based on the fact the judge took several matters into consideration. Had Mr. Jorge Leon went to trial for murder. And assuming that he would have found guilty, there was a probability that perhaps he would have spent his entire life in prison. Mr. Jorge Leon decided to opt for the lesser charge, which is manslaughter, and the judge in coming to her decision, decided that Mr. Herhe Leon was a man of good character. He had never been in any run-ins with the law. He had character witnesses who spoke well on his behalf, indicating that he was a good man in the community. He was a good family man. So when the judge took all of that into consideration, the judge was also mindful, I must say, that life had been lost. The judge recognized that and rightfully so that a life had been lost and decided that when you have these balancing and competing interests, a sentence of 14 years is appropriate.”

The downgrade of the murder to manslaughter charge has resulted in a 14-year sentence, and has disturbed the wife’s family.  The brother of the deceased, Julio Milian, expressed disappointment, saying it is an injustice that Leon will be free in ten years since he had already served four years on remand.  He added that while Leon can make amends and have a fresh start, his sister is dead, and that cannot be undone.   

Julio Milian, Brother of Deceased: “It’s painful for all of us because I think even if the man said sorry she won’t come back. The children they still miss her.”

Reporter: How do you feel about the sentencing that he received ?

Julio Milian, Brother of Deceased: “The sentence I think is good because I thought he would have gotten more because it’s a person that he killed.”

Reporter: So you expected that he would have gotten more ? 

Julio Milian, Brother of Deceased: “I think so because it’s a person that he killed and the family is still has a pain that is still left.”

The victim’s post mortem indicated that she died due to traumatic bronchial asphyxiation blunt force head trauma. Our newsroom hoped to speak to the Director of Public Prosecution about the Crown’s decision today outside of the Belize City High Court, but she did not allow us the opportunity to speak to her about the matter and instead walked away.

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