Nicaraguan defense team bails on confessed U.S. murderer

Basil Givner, on trial for murdering and dismembering his Nicaraguan translator, will be appointed a public defense attorney if he can’t find another private lawyer to take his case

(posted Aug. 20, 10:00 p.m.)- A U.S. man who reportedly confessed to the murder and dismemberment of a Nicaraguan man in the northern mountain community of Jinotega lost his legal defense team today after his lawyer and translated quit their jobs during Monday’s initial hearing, according to La Prensa.

Defense lawyer Pedro Jarquín told the Nicaraguan daily he can no longer represent accused murderer Basil Givner because he just remembered he is friends with the victim’s mother and girlfriend. Givner, 57, is accused of murdering and dismembering his Nicaraguan translator and drinking buddy, Harley José Silva, 34. Police say Givner confessed to the crime shortly after being arrested on Aug. 3.

Basil Givner (from Facebook)

“At today’s initial hearing, I was very surprised to learn that the mother of Harley is a friend of mine, as is his girlfriend, Jessenia Picado, and for that reason I am renouncing my job as Mr. Givner’s defense lawyer,” Jarquín told La Prensa, as if suddenly aware of his surroundings. “Also, it was to my great surprise to find Brenda Down, Harley’s cousin who who studied law with me, at today’s hearing.”

Diego Ortega, Givner’s translator for the trial, also resigned today, citing the tension outside the courtroom, where angry townsfolk gathered to demand justice.

Harley José Silva (from Facebook)

“I was doing this as a volunteer, but from now on I won’t be participating in this—I am totally out of this,” Ortega told La Prensa.

Givner will be appointed a state defense attorney if he can’t find another private lawyer to take his case.

A U.S. citizen of German descent, Givner moved here five years from Baltimore. He was arrested Aug. 3 inside his rented house in Jinotega, where several of Silva’s body parts were discovered in trash bags. Police said Givner later confessed—with chilling calmness—to murdering Silva because “I couldn’t stand him anymore.”

The crime has sickened and outraged the normally quiet city of Jinotega.

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