FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The man being held without bond, charged with murdering two women and a child at a Lauderdale Lakes apartment, was released Friday after a grand jury failed to find enough evidence to indict him.
“The family have always believed in his innocence,” said his uncle, Ernest Baldwin. “We always felt he was innocent, we knew that he’s not that type of person to do something that heinous. “
Lineten Belizaire had faced three counts of First Degree Murder for the January 15th slayings of Natasha Plummer, 25, her son Carlton Stringer Jr., 6 months, and Octavia Barnett, 21, at a Lauderdale Lakes apartment.
Via e-mail Friday morning, Broward State Attorney Ron Ishoy said,”The Grand Jury issued a preliminary recommendation Thursday that further investigation be conducted and that additional evidence be presented to them so grand jurors can more fully and properly determine whether formal criminal charges should be brought against Lineten Rashin Belizaire or any other involved individual.”
Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said they were led to Belizaire through a Facebook posting that Barnett posted to her account moments before the crime took place. She posted on her page that Belizaire was outside her apartment.
Miami-Dade police took Belizaire into custody without incident as he was returning to his girlfriend’s house in Miami January 22nd.
He has been held without bond on the charges while the Broward State Attorney’s Office took his case to a grand jury, as required by law in all first degree murder cases.
But instead of indicting Belizaire for murder, the grand jury issued no true bill, which means they could not find enough evidence in the state’s case to indict.
The Grand Jury’s decision, announced by Belizaire’s attorney, means he will go from being held without bond to being released on his own recognizance, in effect a free man, while investigators are free to continue pursuing charges against him.
“He’s not going to go nowhere, although he is free to do so,” said his attorney Alexander Michaels. “He’s not going to leave, we’re going to be here.”
Sheriff Lamberti was unhappy with the Grand Jury’s decision.
“Our detectives worked tirelessly to compile the evidence and establish probable cause,” the Sheriff said in a prepared statement. ” It was sufficient to obtain an arrest warrant for murder in the first degree but apparently not enough to satisfy the Grand Jurors.” Investigators are already trying to find new evidence. According to court documents, they’re checking text messages of Belizaire’s sister’s phone. They want to know if he may have used it.
Lamberti seemed frustrated by the lengths investigators must go to build cases good enough to get to court.
“O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony remind us that people today expect flawless, airtight cases, but with all our efforts and our resources we can’t always build one,” he said. “Two women and a baby were murdered in cold blood and the Broward Sheriff’s Office will not close this case until the killer is brought to justice.”
As grand jury proceedings are secret, there was no information immediately available as to why the jurors could not support the state’s case.