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Feb 13, 2024

Accused Murderer Deemed Unfit to Stand Trial

Shedrack White

Justice Candace Nanton has ruled that a Belize City man who stands accused of murder is insane and unfit to make a plea.  Fifty-two-year-old Shedrack White is accused of the July 2020 murder of William Rubio in Belize City.  In late January, Justice Nanton handed down her ruling in White’s competency hearing.  She deemed him unfit to stand trial for murder. Today, White returned to the High Court to hear the judge’s decision on where he will be placed given his mental state.  In handing down her decision, Justice Nanton noted that while Belize does not have any mental facilities to house White, he should not be deprived of the help he deserves.  And so, Justice Nanton ordered that, White be detained in a safe place at the Kolbe Foundation, until further notice; that he is treated for his mental disease, namely Schizophrenia, and that reviews are done every six months as part of his treatment. The outcome of those reviews will be made known to the court, including any review that shows he is fit for trial. During the competency hearing, Doctor Alejandro Matus, told the court that after four evaluations it was determined that White suffers from the mental disorder. He explained that it causes him to lose touch with reality and familiar functions and that it can only be treated, not cured.  Before handing down her decision this morning, Justice Nanton said that White has not been found guilty of any offense, but only unfit to plea. She further explained that the purpose of the court is to keep him safe until and if he could be found capable of entering a plea at a later date. Notwithstanding the court’s decision, Doctor Alejandro Matus has highlighted that it is likely White could ever be fit for trial. When the crown asked Doctor Matus what it will take for White to be released back into society, he responded saying White has to be on permanent treatment. When asked what would be the outcome if White does not take his treatment, Doctor Matus said he will be a risk to society.

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