A Miami Gardens man charged with shooting to death two women and an infant in January — while sparing an 11-month-old boy who may be his son — will go on trial Aug. 6, after a Broward circuit judge on Friday granted his request for a speedy trial.
Lineten Belizaire, 21, is charged with three counts of second-degree murder for allegedly killing Natasha Plummer, 25, her 6-month-old son, Carlton Stringer, Jr., and their roommate, Octavia Barnett, 21, in their Lauderdale Lakes apartment.
Barnett’s son, allegedly fathered by Belizaire, was in the apartment at the time of the shooting but was not harmed. He was found in the arms of his mother, who was murdered as she hid in a bedroom closet.
Friday’s hearing followed months of legal wrangling over the Jan. 15 murders at the Somerset Condominiums.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies first arrested Belizaire one week after the murders, and prosecutors charged him with three counts of first-degree murder — based in part on a message Barnett had posted to her Facebook account just prior to the shootings. The message indicated Belizaire was outside the door and had just returned from a months-long absence, according to investigators.
But a Broward County grand jury declined to indict Belizaire for lack of evidence, and recommended further investigation.
Belizaire was released from a Broward jail in March. About three weeks later, he was arrested again in Miami-Dade County on a separate charge when police found a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic handgun in his car. The gun has not been linked to the Lauderdale Lakes murders.
Police and prosecutors had until late July to present new evidence to the grand jury and return an indictment on the first-degree murder charges before Florida law allowed those charges to be dismissed.
With the clock ticking, BSO deputies re-arrested Belizaire on July 16. This time, however, he was charged with second-degree murder, which does not require a grand jury’s judgment.
BSO has said detectives found new evidence linking Belizaire to the Lauderdale Lakes triple murder, but the agency wouldn’t offer any details.
Defense attorney Alexander Michaels said he does not believe investigators have any new evidence.
“As far as I know,’’ he said, “they have nothing new. … They just filed charges because otherwise the case would be gone for good.”
Michaels entered a plea of not guilty for his client on Friday. He also has suggested that Belizaire is not the father of the surviving 11-month-old infant.
No father is listed on the child’s birth certificate and Belizaire has denied under oath that he fathered the child, but Sonya White, Barnett’s mother, identified Belizaire as the boy’s father during a custody hearing in January.
Belizaire, who sat shackled in the jury box during the hearing, is being held at Broward County Jail with no bond.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday.