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Wednesday, September 18 2019 @ 04:21 pm EDT

Date Set For Trial of Javier Martin For The Murder of American Expat Don North

Expat TalesBy Don Winner for - The judge responsible for the trial of the Spaniard Javier Martin, for the murder of the American expat Don North, has established a date for the trial.

The hearing will be held on Wednesday, 16 April 2014, starting at 10:00 am.

Initially Javier Martin's lawyer had asked the justice system to "accumulate" or combine the two cases.

Javier Martin is accused of having killed both the American expat Don North, as well as the Frenchman Jean Pierre Bouhard, in early 2011.

Previously, defendants who have been accused of multiple homicides could try to get shorter sentences by having those cases heard during one single trial. In Spanish they use the word meaning "accumulate" when discussing these things, but what they really mean is to combine the two or more trials into one big trial.

However, recently Panamanian criminal law has changed. Defendants can no longer receive shorter sentences when two or more murder trials are combined. Therefore, Javier Martin's lawyer has desisted or dropped the request he filed previously, to have the two cases combined.

On 16 April 2014 Javier Martin will be tried only for the murder of the American Don North. So far the judge responsible for the case involving the murder of the Frenchman Jean Pierre Bouhard has not yet established a trial date.

As you might recall, Don North disappeared from his sailboat in the San Blas islands in January 2011. Shortly thereafter, the body of Jean Pierre Bouhard came floating to the surface of the ocean near Portobelo. Bouhard had been murdered, and his body had been tied to an anchor and thrown into the ocean.

Friends of Don North contacted me on Thursday, 10 February 2011, to let me know they thought something was wrong. They put me into contact with North's nephew, Ezra North. He immediately flew to Panama, and I helped him file an official complaint with the Panamanian authorities on Friday, 11 February 2011. The next day, on Saturday, we went with the DIJ and FBI agents to the area of Portobelo, to search for Javier Martin. Nothing happened on Sunday. Then on Monday, 14 February 2011 - Valentine's Day - I called an impromptu press conference outside of the offices of the DIJ and announced to the Panamanian media that we were looking for Javier Martin as a suspect serial killer, in the murders of Jean Pierre Bouhard and Don North. Martin's photo aired on the channel 2 TVN news broadcast at 12:00 noon that day.

Little did we know that a clerk in a hostel in the Darien was watching that broadcast. As she was watching the news, Javier Martin was standing right there beside her in the hallway (he could not see the television screen from where he was). He was hitting on her, and trying to talk her into coming up to his hotel room with her. She recognized him, and called the police. He was arrested that afternoon.

So, it was four days. From first hearing about the case on a Thursday, and getting the murderer in handcuffs on Monday afternoon. The case was later profiled on the CBS 48 Hours Mystery program "Dark Side of Paradise" which originally aired in February 2012.

There is a ton (almost literally) of evidence against Javier Martin. He did it, he's guilty. Now there's only the formality of the trial to go through. He will never set foot outside of a prison, for the rest of his life. He will die in La Joya, eventually.

I'm glad the slow moving Panamanian justice system is finally setting a trial date for Javier Martin. Now maybe this will help Don North's family members to put this behind them.

There are a ton of related articles. You can do searches on the website for "Don North" or "Javier Martin". Here's a list from Feb 2011;
















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