Family Prepares for Trial in Shooting of Ogden Tourist

Family Prepares for Trial in Shooting of Ogden Tourist

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Reed Richards and his family are preparing to go to Guatemala for the trial of men accused of attacking their tour bus in January 2004 and slaying Richards' brother Brett.

Just two defendants are scheduled for trial on June 24, but others, possibly including the shooter, may have captured.

Three months ago Guatemalan police sent a number of photographs of suspects to the family. Richards' father, Maurice, identified one as the shooter.

"They may have them all identified, but they haven't told us if that has brought any more arrests," said Reed Richards, a former chief of the Utah Attorney General's criminal division.

Brett Richards, a well-known Ogden architect, was killed during a confrontation with the five or six bandits who robbed the tour bus that carried Richards and several family members and friends.

It is uncertain who all from the tour group will attend the trial.

"I assume they'll pay our way, but if they won't, then we can't all afford to go," Richards said.

The only communication in the case has been through the U.S. embassy, since the prosecutors and staff don't speak English, he said.

The lack of information, including how long the trial will last, has been frustrating, he said.

Two women from the tour returned to Guatemala in March 2004 to identify two of the suspects from a police lineup. Their expenses were covered by Guatemalan authorities, Richards noted.

Reed said he has noticed differences between the U.S. and the Guatemalan justice system.

The judge hearing the case sat in on the police lineup, he said. Also the two women were told they may not have to attend the trial to take the stand with their identifications.

The whole group initially was told they may not have to testify at all, that their sworn statements to police were sufficient.

"That wouldn't impress me very much as a defense attorney," Richards said. "You can't cross-examine a statement."

The robbery and slaying occurred as the group was traveling from Quetzaltenango to the Mexican border.

Brett Richards was shot to death when he went to the aid of the bus driver, who was struggling with the robbers and was shot in the foot.

The robbers led the other passengers into a forest and forced them to lie face down before stealing their belongings.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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