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Jamaican to hang for U.S. man's death

SAN JUAN, Jan. 26 -- A Jamaican tailor has been sentenced to hang for the 1994 killing of Chicago screenwriter Terrence Runte, the Caribbean news agency Cana said Friday. Runte, who worked on such movies as 'The Killing Fields' and 'Super Mario Brothers,' disappeared on Oct. 17, 1994, while researching a script in Jamaica.

His body, never found, was presumed to have been dumped in shark-infested waters. An 11-member jury found 37-year-old Elvis Martin guilty of killing Runte on Thursday, after 37 minutes of deliberation. Cana said in a dispatch monitored in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that the man had been sentenced to hang for the killing. Kathleen Runte, the victim's mother, said following the trial that she pitied Martin's mother, telling Cana her son 'would not wish for vengeance.' She said Runte's family had suffered greatly since her son's death. 'He does not even have a grave site where we can honor him,' she said. A chief prosecution witness was Ladrick Scott, who had also been charged in the killing. He testified that Martin beat Runte with bamboo stick, robbed him, tied his body to a concrete column and threw it into shark-infested waters off Jamaica's eastern coast. Runte's clothing was found tied to a concrete column near a point called Shark's Rock. Martin said in testimony that Runte had faked his own death and had left Jamaica by boat. He said blood found at the scene of the alleged murder was that of a chicken. A government forensics expert said the blood was from a human, although it was never positively identified as belonging to the screenwriter.

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