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Double Murder Suspect Surrenders

Double Murder Suspect Surrenders
June 28
18:47 2019

A man who Police were actively seeking for questioning in the shocking murders of San Pedro tour guide Mario Graniel and American doctor Gary Paul Swank is in Police custody. The Reporter was able to confirm that just after midday today, Christian Espat, 23, in the company of his attorney Leeroy Banner, walked into the San Pedro Police Station and turned himself in.

Prior to that development Espat, who recently walked off a murder charge for the July 2018 death of an American national, released a video recording of himself in which he proclaimed his innocence as it relates to the recent murder of Dr. Gary Swank and local tour guide Mario Graniel. Espat stated that he knows that he will be charged for the crime because he has been a constant target for officers, but “I will go in and give myself up. I do not have any bruises on my body. After this when I go and give up myself I know to my heart that they will beat me up and send me back to jail. But I will leave everything in the Father’s hand because in my heart I know that I did not have anything against these people that they are accusing me of. They help me come out of jail, when I went to jail for two months they helped me.”

Swank and Graniel were both shot dead during a fly-fishing expedition on June 23rd. One day before his death, Graniel’s home had been targeted by a gunman, just days after he had an altercation with a well-known gang figure from the island. With those details. Police suspected that Graniel was the intended target of the shooting, and that Swank was just in the wrong company at the wrong time.

Additionally, there are reports that the murder may have been the result of a dispute over a female, who this newspaper was told was detained by Police and questioned at length.

Last week Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, in explaining that Swank was not the intended target, referred to him as ‘collateral damage,’ which may be accurate terminology but did not sit well with Swank’s family members. The brother of the deceased, Darrin James Swank, stated that “the Police in Belize are calling my innocent brother ‘Collateral Damage,’ but was he fly fishing in a war zone? If that’s the case, let’s send in the military.”

Earlier this week, Crime Stoppers Belize announced that they were offering a $2,000 reward for information or tips relating to the double murder.

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