Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Belizean man given four life sentences in the US for murdering family members

Published:Tuesday | June 12, 2018 | 11:00 AM

FLORIDA, CMC – A Belizean man was sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment more than a month after a jury found him guilty of four counts of second-degree murder.

Brian Omar Hyde, 22, an undocumented immigrant, was found guilty in April of murdering four members of his family, including his 37-year-old aunt, Dorla Pitts; his 17-year-old cousin, Starlette Pitts; and 19-year-old Michael Kelly.

The fourth count was for the unborn child of  Starlette Pitts.

The attacks occurred on August 11, 2015 and State experts had testified that a rape kit confirmed that Hyde’s semen was inside his cousin’s body and that his DNA was on her body. They also testified that Hyde’s shoes were stained in numerous places with the blood of all three victims.

During the trial, Hyde took the stand and claimed he could remember nothing from the day the victims were hacked to death in the home Dorla and Starlette Pitts shared with Hyde.

The fourth count was for the unborn child of  Starlette Pitts.

The attacks occurred on August 11, 2015, and State experts had testified that a rape kit confirmed that Hyde’s semen was inside his cousin’s body and that his DNA was on her body.

They also testified that Hyde’s shoes were stained in numerous places with the blood of all three victims.

During the trial, Hyde testified that he could remember anything from the day the victims were hacked to death in the home Dorla and Starlette Pitts shared with Hyde.

Hyde, who came into the United States in February 2015 after crossing the Mexican border to Texas, claimed the only thing he could remember was driving a vehicle which he crashed it into a picket fence at a park.

Police believe Hyde was fleeing the crime scene.

He was carrying one of the victims’ personal belongings.

He also testified about the trauma he sustained in Belize where many of his family members were killed.

Hyde was being re-tried after his first trial last November was declared a mistrial because his uncle inadvertently testified that Hyde was in the country illegally.

His defence team had argued that trauma was the reason Hyde didn’t remember finding his family murdered.

They also argued the Lee County Sheriff’s Office did not investigate evidence in the home that showed other people were there at the time of the deaths.

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