Ex-Haitian senator sentenced to life in prison over president's assassination

Ex-Haitian senator sentenced to life in prison over president
# 20 December 2023 04:34 (UTC +04:00)

Former Haitian Senator John Joel Joseph was on Tuesday sentenced in a Miami court to life in prison over his role in the July 2021 assassination of Haiti's last president, Jovenel Moise.

The nighttime killing of Moise in his Port-au-Prince residence created a destabilizing power vacuum which violent armed gangs exploited to expand their control over the island nation, driving a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

In October, the former senator became the third of 11 defendants - including Colombian mercenaries accused of carrying out the killing and foreign businessmen suspected of funding the plot - to plead guilty in the case.

According to his proffer statement, Joseph was present at meetings where plans for the assassination were discussed, including on the night before the murder happened.

He admitted in the statement to providing support for the plot, including rental vehicles, introductions to gangs whose backing was sought and attempted to procure weapons.

The first two to plead guilty in relation to the case, a Chilean-Haitian man and a retired Colombian army officer, were sentenced to life.

Mario Palacios, another ex-Colombian soldier who pleaded innocent last year, is expected to change his plea this Friday.

Earlier this month, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration informer accused of helping make the mission look like a U.S. government operation also pleaded guilty and is expected to be sentenced early next year.