Former police officer Alpheus Parham found guilty in fatal shooting of Caye Caulker detainee

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Almost five years after ex-Police Constable Alpheus Parham was charged for murder, he was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Parham’s guilty verdict originates from the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Alex Goff, who was a detainee at the Caye Caulker Police Station in May of 2010. Parham was found guilty on Friday February 13th before the court of Justice Troadio Gonzalez in the Belize City Supreme Court.

Alpheus Parham

Alpheus Parham

On May 9, 2010, Goff was detained by Caye Caulker Police and was placed inside the eastern police cell inside the station. According to two officers who testified in court, Goff was alone in the cell when Police Constable Parham went towards the cell and shortly afterwards, a gunshot blast was heard. A second police officer in his statement to the court said that he saw Parham heading to the back of the cell and he heard an explosion. The officer added that Parham walked out of the station without saying anything to anyone. When the two officers went to check the cell seconds later, they saw Goff with a single gunshot to the forehead and in a sitting position.
The prosecutor only managed to produce circumstantial evidence against Parham before the court because there were no eyewitnesses who saw what led to the deadly shooting. Throughout the case, none of the witnesses established what led to the shooting but the prosecution was able to establish that Goff was alone in the cell when he was visited by Parham and seconds after, a gunshot was heard.

Alex Goff

Alex Goff

Parham’s attorney, Simeon Sampson, made a no-case submission after the prosecution closed its cased but that submission was rejected by Justice Gonzalez. Parham, in a sworn statement from the dock told the court that Goff tried to wrestle away his service revolver when he was escorting the victim to the restroom. He claimed that a struggle for the weapon ensued, and the gun accidentally went off causing the fatal injury to Goff.
Following the conclusion of the case, a jury of 12 deliberated for about four hours. The jury returned with a non-guilty verdict of murder but guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. To allow the accused some time to submit mitigation plea, Justice Gonzalez handed sentencing on February 16th. As a result, Parham was sentenced to 10 years in prison but because he already served five years, Justice Gonzalez deducted five years from the 10 years sentence.
Goff, a resident of Belize City was detained at the split in Caye Caulker on May 9, 2010 at about 5:30PM for disorderly conduct and was taken to the Police Station where he was shot and killed. The Belize Police Department was highly criticized and came under public outcry following the incident which has now seen some closure.

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