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Justice Delayed: Family of Man Murdered on Roatan Await Verdict

The family of slain Canadian architect Roger Walls hope to hear the fate of his accused killer by the end of September.

Walls was gunned down in Roatan, Honduras, in February 2009. Paralyzed from a gunshot to the neck, his family paid to have the 71-year-old airlifted back to Saskatoon. He died from complications to his injuries in April 2009.

The victim's brother, Vic Walls of Red Deer, Alta., says Julie Thompson, a Honduran woman, is charged with murder in the case for allegedly orchestrating a contract killing. Her trial went ahead last week in La Ceiba, on the Honduran mainland, Vic Walls said. Thompson was one of several people on Roatan who owed Roger Walls money for property development work he did on the island, his brother says. Read more.

This seems to be a common scenario on Roatan and elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean -- business disputes are more easily and cheaply settled with a bullet than a court case. This seems to have been the situation when U.S. citizen Alberto Lima was murdered on Roatan in 2000 by a tenant from whom he was attempting to collect past-due rent. Lima's son, Paul, has made a documentary about his family's painful and, to date, unsuccessful efforts to obtain justice through the U.S. embassy and the Honduran court system (watch the trailer)

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