Alston's Murder Accused Seeking Legal Aid

Javon Liburd, Staff Reporter | 3 Opinions
Published: May 25, 2017 8:29 am AST
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Santo Yamarco Hernandez, 38, who is charged with the murder of Alston Penn, is currently seeking assistance from government’s legal aid initiative, to represent him in the matter moving forward.

In an appearance last Friday, May 19, Hernandez informed the court that he is awaiting assistance from a government appointed lawyer.

Once represented, Hernandez is expected to move straight into trial for this matter.

According to court records, the body of Penn was found around 5:20 am on Friday, March 10, face down on the Windy Hill road in a pool of blood. He reportedly sustained extensive head injuries. Two bloodied boulders were also found at the scene.

As a result of police investigations, the accused was linked to the murder by a long call log between him and the deceased, on the night he was killed. Police also retrieved CCTV footage, which showed Penn getting into a vehicle that Hernandez was driving on the same night.

In the first appearance of the matter, Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Kim Hollis, QC, who laid out the allegations, said that phone records were obtained for Penn's phone account from March 9 and 10. She said there was heavy traffic between the phone accounts belonging to Hernandez and Penn.

The phone records showed that Penn called the defendant 22 times on March 9, and then Hernandez later called Penn some 51 times. The final answered call was around 2:00 am on March 10.

Hollis, QC told the court that CCTV footage showed that Penn met with Hernandez hours before the murder. She said that the footage showed Penn getting into a vehicle, which was driven by Hernandez around 11:00 pm in the area of a gas station, a short distance from Penn's home in East End.

She said the defendant was apparently parked, waiting on Penn.

The DPP said that the same vehicle driven by the defendant was then seen around 3:30 am in the Joe's Hill area, not too far from where Penn's body was later found.

The vehicle Hernandez was driving was loaned to him by a friend.

Hernandez then left for Santo Domingo around 1:00 pm later that day, March 10, and upon his return on Saturday, April 1, detectives arrested him at the TB Lettsome International Airport.

Police removed evidence from the crime scene, including swabs from the deceased clothing for forensic examination.

I Only See Him Around

Meanwhile, during a police interview, Hernandez initially denied speaking with Penn, claiming that he only knew him by seeing him around.

However, when he was shown the phone records and CCTV footage, he admitted that he met with Penn earlier the night, but claimed that when Penn exited his vehicle, he was fit and well. He denied being responsible for his death.

Hernandez, who has been living in the BVI for eight years, told police that he has been renting a room at Rudy's Bar since breaking up with his girlfriend recently. He visits Santo Domingo on a regular basis, where his wife and parents reside.

Hernandez will make another appearance at the Magistrate’s Court on July 7, to note his legal aid appointed lawyer, or the status of his legal aid application.

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