Utahns Meet With Prosecutors Over Slain Ogden Architect

Utahns Meet With Prosecutors Over Slain Ogden Architect

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QUETZALTENANGO, Guatemala (AP) -- The widow of a Utah architect shot to death when assailants ambushed their tour bus said Tuesday she was hoping to see justice done "so that Guatemala can be a beautiful and safe place to visit."

Rebecca Richards was one of seven witnesses expected to take the stand in the murder and assault trial of two Guatemalan men accused of killing Brett Richards during the robbery of a bus filled with Mormon tourists visiting Mayan ruins.

Although Richards could not definitively tie the men to the crime during her testimony Tuesday, prosecutor Jorge Molina Canales said other witnesses had identified the men in photographs and would be able to do so in court as well.

Prosecutors are relying on such testimony to bolster what they acknowledge is a weak case, with virtually no physical evidence to show that Henry Giovanny Gabriel, 27, and Marvin Sebastian Berganza, 29, participated in the Jan. 7, 2004, assault.

Testifying prior to Rebecca Richards, fingerprint expert Carla Lopez told the court that prints taken from the bus did not match those of the defendants.

Richards said she could not identify the assailants because all her attention was focused on her husband.

"I heard gunshots and some men entered the bus and began to fight" with some of the passengers, she said, breaking into sobs during her testimony.

"My husband said, 'They shot me,' and he sat down. ... I knew he was badly injured. I didn't see blood, so I knew that he was bleeding internally, and that this was bad."

The attackers took control of the bus, drove it into the jungle, removed and robbed the tourists one by one, then forced them to lie face down on the ground before fleeing, Richards testified.

After her testimony, Richards told reporters, "I want to see justice done ... so that Guatemala can be a beautiful and safe place to visit."

The trial was taking place in a court in Quetzaltenango, a city about 125 miles west of the capital, Guatemala City.

The bus attack happened on a highway between the cities of Coatepeque and Retalhuleu, about 125 miles southwest of Guatemala City.

Richards and the six other witnesses, all from Utah, were put up in a hotel in Quetzaltenango under heavy police guard.

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

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