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Man walks from Murder Charge

Thirty-six-year-old George Hyde, a resident of Belmopan charged with the murder of 69-year-old Keith Haslem, was acquitted of the charge today by Justice Antoinette Moore. The trial that was without a jury concluded on September 27 in the Belmopan Supreme Court but Justice Moore had reserved her decision. Haslem was hacked to death with a machete on December 21, 2012. His body with 9 chop wounds was found buried and covered with cohune leaves near a farm in Buena Vista Village, El Cayo. The Crown, represented by Senior Crown Counsel Cecil Ramirez, had relied on a caution statement and 2 oral confessions that were allegedly made by Hyde. But none of the statements was admitted into evidence after a viore dire revealed that Hyde was promised that if he gave the statement, his girlfriend would not be charged.  In relation to the oral statement, one of them was given by his girlfriend and the other was given by a police officer.  His girlfriend, who became a witness for the Crown, had testified that he told her not to worry because he will take the rap. Hyde’s attorney, Leeroy Banner, argued successfully that even if the statement was true, it does not necessarily mean that Hyde had confessed to committing the crime.  According to the police officer, Hyde had told him that it was he who committed the murder and his girlfriend is innocent.  Justice Moore ruled that there was no evidence that the accused committed the murder.