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Trio Found Guilty of the 2009 James Young Murder

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for about four hours and sixteen minutes today in the court of Justice Antonette Moore before it found three men guilty of the murder of 82-year-old taxi driver James Neal aka James Young which occurred on July 28, 2009. The accused were 33 year Matthew Gentle, 32 year old Transito Ricardo Tzul aka “Ricky” and 26 year old Sherlock Myvett. Justice Moore has deferred sentencing until Thursday, March 23 in order to hear pleas for mitigation. The sentencing will be done at Belmopan Supreme Court. Young, a resident of Belmopan, was abducted from his taxi stand in Belmopan and put in the trunk of his gold Geo Prism car. He was taken to Pook’s Hill Resort Road in Teakettle Village and was stabbed thirty seven times. His partially decomposed body was found on the side of the road covered with cohune leaves about three days later. The case for the prosecution relied on a caution statement given by Leon Gentle, a cousin of Matthew Gentle, in which he said that all three accused were in Young’s car and that it was Matthew and Tzul who inflicted the wounds to Young. But when Leon took the witness stand he was deemed a hostile witness because he denied that he gave the statement to the police and he denied that the signature on the statement was his. His statement was, however, admitted as evidence. The prosecution also relied on circumstantial evidence that was given by several witnesses who testified in connection with Young’s car that was retrieved by the police at the Belize/Guatemala border. In the case of Matthew, the prosecution also relied on a caution statement he gave in which he denied he committed the murder but he puts himself at the border. All three accused gave statements from the dock in which they denied they committed the murder. Tzul was represented by attorneys Sheena Pitts and Tricia Pitts Anderson. Myvett was represented attorney Peta-Gay Bradley while Matthew was represented by attorney Baja Shoman. The Crown was represented by Crown Counsels Sheneiza Smith, Kileru Awich and Rene Montero.