Fisherman charged with two of five murders of St Ann’s homeless

OCHO RIOS, St Ann – A fisherman was on Tuesday charged with two of five murders of homeless people in the Ocho Rios area since the start of the year.

The accused, Richard Belnavis, 45, has also been slapped with two counts of wounding with intent and one count of unlawful wounding.

He was arrested and charged for the July 23 murder of Junior Haye who was killed at Buckfield Playfield Community Centre. Belnavis has also been charged for the April 10 slaying of an unidentified man who was attacked at Tajmahal Plaza. Both incidents occurred in Ocho Rios, St Ann.

In addition he was charged for wounding 60-year-old Phillicia Hyatt and Howard Gordon, 64, both from Buckfield in Ocho Rios. Belnavis lived in both Buckfield and the Paggie section of Port Maria in St Mary.

The police said they are still investigating and gathering the necessary evidence to lay additional charges against him. They have reassured residents of St Ann that they are working tirelessly to maintain public order in the parish.

Last week, commanding officer for the St Ann Police Division, Senior Superintendent Dwight Powell announced that a man had been taken into custody for the killings.

“Most of the victims of these crimes were mentally challenged and considered street people. As a result of intensive investigations carried out by detectives assigned to the Ocho Rios Police Station the suspect was tracked down and arrested in the parish on Thursday, September 14,” SSP Powell said then, and he promised to provide further updates.

Belnavis’s capture came on the heels of 25-year-old Ronaldo Ricketts being charged for four of five murders of homeless people in Montego Bay over the summer. The St James resident is also facing another case in relation to the murders of five homeless people in Montego Bay, along with a case of abduction and attempted rape. During his last court appearance the judge ordered psychiatric evaluation.