Forty-year-old Edwin Hernan Castillo, who was convicted for the murder of Javier Alberto Ack which occurred on June 14th, 2012 at the village of Yo Creek here in Orange Walk District, appeared at the Belize City Court of Appeal earlier today where his conviction of murder was substituted to manslaughter. Castillo was convicted back in May 2017 and was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison by Justice Herbert Lord.
During today’s appeal hearing, the ruling of the court was that it will not allow the appeal nor will it be dismissed but rather substituted for murder and that the court will then decide what sentence to impose following written assistance from Senior Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith who represented the respondent and Castillo’s attorney, Anthony Sylvestre.
While Castillo’s appeal was on nine grounds, all were abandoned with the exception of ground five which was that the learned trial judge failed to take relevant matters into consideration in determining whether the appellant had the specific intention to kill. Senior Crown Counsel Smith, who was assisted by Crown Counsel Riis Cattouse, conceded to ground five without an argument.
Viewers may recall that on the day of the murder, Javier Ack and Edwin Castillo, who were said to be friends, were socializing with other colleagues at Yo Creek Village when a dispute ensued between them. As a result, Castillo walked up to Ack holding a machete in his right hand and stabbed Ack, who was seated on a coconut log, once to the chest where he died on the scene.