FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A man arrested twice for a triple murder in Lauderdale Lakes has gone to court to demand either he be guaranteed a speedy trial or set loose.
Last week 21-year old Lineten Belzaire was charged with three counts of second degree murder for the January 15th shooting deaths of Natasha Plummer, 25, her son 6-month old Carlton Stringer Jr. and his ex-girlfriend 21-year old Octavia Barnett. He reportedly spared the child he and Barnett had together.
Belzaire, a former standout cornerback for Miami’s Northwestern Senior High, was first arrested back in January on first degree murder charges. However, in March, the Grand Jury declined to indict him on first degree murder charges and recommended further investigation into the murders.
All charges were dropped.
Prosecutors say the sheriff’s office was able to gather new evidence against Belzaire and they were able to move forward and arrest him this month.
During Monday’s hearing, Belzaire’s attorney argued that since he was arrested and charged in January after the murders, by law he should have gone to trial in the six months. Since he was not, they say the ‘speedy trial motion, has expired and they’re demanding a trial in the next two weeks. If that doesn’t happen, they want all charges dropped – again.
“They got nothing sir, they got no new evidence,” said Belzaire’s attorney Alexander Michaels. “It’s a bluff, they’ve got nothing. Nothing from January when the Grand Jury failed to indict. I read what they have, they’ve got bubkis.”
The state says since he was arrested in July for second degree murder, not first degree murder, the charges are different and the six month clock should start in July and not January. If the court orders a trial in the next two weeks, prosecutors say they are ready.
The judge said they will reconvene on Thursday before he will rule on this.
Michaels also asked that Belzaire be released on his own recognizance. When the judge refused, Belzaire’s family members, who were in court, were furious.
“He’s (the judge) is scared. It’s election time coming up, nobody wants to make no ruling,” said Belzaire’s uncle Earnest Baldwin. “They want to break the law, hold him here illegally. I think what is going on is a shame, it’s terrible.”
Investigators said Belzaire had a troubled relationship with Barnett. While he’s reportedly admitted that he posted on a social media website that he was outside her apartment door just before the murders, Belzaire has maintained that he’s innocent of the murders.