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‘I could dead any day now’

By AZARD ALI Wednesday, January 15 2014

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MURDERED: State witness Ricaldo Sanchez, shot dead hours before he was due to testify. ...
MURDERED: State witness Ricaldo Sanchez, shot dead hours before he was due to testify. ...

“I COULD dead any day now!”

Those were the prophetic words uttered by State witness Ricaldo Sanchez to a close, trusted friend mere days before he was shot dead while riding his bicycle on Monday morning, hours before he was to testify in a court case.

Sanchez, while on his way to work at Petrotrin, would sit in the front seat of the car driven by his friend where he would speak about the life of a State witness. The friend, who requested anonymity, yesterday told Newsday: “Sanchez started telling me recently things like, ‘boy, I could be a dead man any day now’.”

Sanchez, 51, was shot dead while on his bicycle at about 4 am at Skinner Trace, Santa Flora. Police said his killing was a “hit”, planned and executed to achieve one objective — to prevent him from testifying at a murder preliminary inquiry.

Sanchez’s body was found an hour before he was supposed to go to the Siparia Magistrates’ Court on Monday to give evidence in the inquiry. He was the prosecution’s main witness. Sanchez lived with his common-law wife Mahalia Floyd at Mitchell Trace, Los Charros, a few miles from where he was shot dead. Sanchez, Newsday was told, worked part-time as an electrician at Petrotrin but earned his livelihood mainly from gardening.

A senior police officer confirmed yesterday that the magistrate’s records would reflect that Sanchez had complained of death threats. “And he did so on the very first occasion the case was called,” the officer said.

Yesterday, Sanchez’s sister Hazel Sanchez, 52, told Newsday her brother telephoned her on the Monday before New Year’s day. “He told me, ‘Hazel girl, when you find my body, burn me,” Sanchez said. “I told him, ‘boy go and complain to the police. He then repeated what he said earlier, ‘Hazel, when you find my body, burn me’,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez’s common-law wife Mahalia, through her tears, said that despite the death threats he was planning their marriage. “We were planning our wedding in June. I don’t want to go there now as the pain is still fresh. My husband did not deserve this kind of death,” Mahalia sobbed.

It was Mahalia, who while returning from work as a security guard, who first saw Sanchez’s bicycle at the side of the road. She walked into some bushes where she saw splashes of blood and then some of his personal items. His body was soon discovered. Up to yesterday, no arrest was made and investigations are continuing.

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