The Court Report – Thursday, January 28th. 2021

35 Years In Prison For The 2012 Murder of Chinese Businessman

by: Anita Nembhard-Flowers /
Belize City, THURS. Jan. 28, 2021

One year and eight months ago, on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, John Chessman Jr., and Dillon Clark was jointly charged for the murder of Ladyville resident; Chinese businessman,
Jiantao Yang

Yang was shot once in the back of the head on August 9, 2012 during a robbery that turn deadly at his business place, E-Bay Supermarket located at #116 Crawl Catcher Street in Ladyville

Chessman was handed a very stiff sentence of 35 years imprisonment impose by Justice Marilyn Williams in the Supreme Court.

Back in 2019, Chessman was 29 years old, took the easier route having been on remand for more than 5 years, he plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

John Chessman Jr.
Dillon Clark

After all the surveillance footage showed him clearly as the shooter who shot Yang, leaving the court with overwhelming evidence linking him to the murder. Despite those overwhelming evidence, his guilty plea for manslaughter was accepted by the DPP’s office.

His accomplice, Clark maintains his innocence claiming during his recent trial, he did not kill anyone.

The court then proceeded to trial against Clark for murder and he wanted to plea guilty to robbery but the DPP crown rejected such a plea and the trial continued against him for murder.

Clark’s murder case is still active in the Supreme Court but because of the Covid 19 Pandemic, Chessman Jr’s actual sentence was also delayed. His sentence was initially set for July 22, 2019 and now so is a delay in the trial of Clark which is still ongoing but on pause due to Covid 19 precautionary measures.

Justice Marilyn Williams had told Chessman back in 2019 that she had to take into consideration the role he played in the murder and look carefully at the mitigating and aggravating factors.

The video footage showed when two men entered the Chinese businessman’s shop to rob him when as he turn and began to take money out the cash register to give the two men, he was shot in the back of the head.

The two assailants then ran off and manage to escape. It was based on the footage captured by the camera at the shop which led police to identify of the two men, Chessman as the shooter and Clark as his accomplice.

In July 2019 at mitigation, Chessman Jr., expressed remorse for the life he took telling the court, “I am sorry for my action-There is nothing I could say that could justify what I did. I had no right to enter the man establishment and deprive them of their valuables, and while doing so, I took something from someone that was so precious like a life…”

The shooting of Yang tool place at around 5:00 p.m., that day, and while he was left to die, the two men escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash and items from inside the shop.

When police responded to the scene of a robbery they found Yang on the ground with apparent gun shop injury and he was rushed to the hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival at 5:45 p.m., less than an hour later after being shot.

Two days after the murder of Yang, police arrested and charged Chessman Jr., and Clark with Yang’s murder.

On March 3, 2013, the duo were committed to stand trial for murder at the Supreme Court.

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