Accused of murder, Mason returns to court for the second time
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
William ‘Danny’ Mason along with his four accomplices who is serving time at the Belize Central Prison for the murder of Pastor Lewellyn Lucas, appeared in court for the second time on Wednesday November 9th. Under heavy security escort, Mason and his group were taken to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court around 9AM. Inside the court room, Chief Magistrate Anne Marie read a single charge of murder and then adjourned their case to January 18, 2017.
Also present in court was Mason’s girlfriend, Melissa Ferguson who is a person of interest to the police and has been out on bail. She has not been directly link to the murder, but because she was Mason’s partner, police believes that she can assist them in their investigation to solve the case. As a result, Ferguson will be incarcerated and ineligible for bail due to the capital charge she has been associated with.
Belizeans across the country were shocked by the news of the heinous murder, which was revealed in July of this year. It is believed that Pastor Lucas met his death after visiting Mason’s residence in Belmopan. According to investigations, Lucas was kidnapped by his henchmen (Ashton Vanegas, Keron Fernandez, Terrence Fernandez, and Ernest Henry Castillo), and taken to Mason’s farm at Mile 31 of the George Price Highway, where he was beheaded. Evidence of the crime also suggests that his body was burned, while his severed head was found in a bucket in Mason’s pick-up truck.
According to Mason’s attorney Dickie Bradley, the hearing on Wednesday was to adjourn the case and it was agreed that the prosecution would provide a partial disclosure of the case. “We discussed this already with the Chief Magistrate and an order was made that the prosecution is to provide that disclosure in relation to the matter,” said Bradley. The full case disclosure is expected to happen in January of 2017.
The prosecution, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams has a little over two months to work on a full disclosure for the attorney of the defendants before the preliminary inquiry on February 1, 2017. While the time to collect all necessary evidence may seem very short, Williams is very optimistic that all necessary information can and will be available by February. “We are moving ahead with the matter,” said Williams. “We are still awaiting certain things that we have sent abroad for testing, and as soon as those bits of evidence are confirmed, we will then have a better appreciation of the file and then we will move forward from there.” Williams added that even if some of the tests do not return to the country in time, the prosecution will provide additional evidence to the defence so they can still be able to move forward with the case.
It is expected that based on the full disclosure at the preliminary inquiry, the Chief Magistrate will determine if the accused will be committed to stand trial at the Supreme Court. If there are other charges against Mason and his group, according to his attorney, they will be dealt with in the Belmopan jurisdiction.
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