The facts in this case sound more like the script from a bad Hollywood film or an episode of True Detective, but some days truth is stranger than fiction. The Miami Herald reported this past week of a plea deal taken by Maherbe Francois in the murder of Beauglais Bazelais in February 2013.
According to Francois, the deceased was both his lover, and a Cross-dressing Voodoo priest. In his official statement he says :
“ On the morning before the shooting, Bazelais had gone to a North Miami-Dade cemetery to ‘collect souls for a Vodou ceremony.’ Francois was out on the streets. While at the cemetery, Bazelais called Francois demanding that he return to the home. When Francois did, Bazelais was there with another Haitian man ‘and a spirit….’ ”Neither the souls, nor the spirit, helped the deceased much, because ultimately he was shot dead by Francois with a .40 caliber pistol. Francois in the official police report claims the man was coming at him with a “white or yellow magic substance on his hands.” Francois agreed to accept a plea of second degree murder and will serve 15 years. Despite the fact that the victim was unarmed, and many years older than his killer, prosecutors choose to accept the plea. They cited in part the “religious undertones” which complicated the case. To me, it sounds like a sad story of domestic violence and religious ignorance, where justice was clouded by fear and intolerance. Is it ok to kill someone because of their religious practices, specifically the Voodoo religion ? Is it ok to kill them because of their sexual orientation, or style of dress ? I’d like to think not, but I would be unrealistic.
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