Murder suspect late to arraignment, refused to leave cell

leopoldo belen murder suspect_177385

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A suspect accused of beating to death a Providence landlord in 2013 didn’t exactly make a good impression before the court during his arraignment Thursday.

Leopoldo Belen, 34, was ordered held without bail after pleading not guilty to several charges, including first-degree murder, in the death of 78-year-old Dean Cabral.

Prosecutors say Belen savagely beat Cabral, while the landlord was trying to defend one of his tenants from being robbed.

The arraignment was scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., but didn’t occur until 12:45 p.m. because Belen reportedly refused to leave his cell.

When questioned about his tardiness, Belen apologized, telling Judge Nettie C. Vogel he didn’t have court clothes.

“They lost or threw away my court clothes. I understand it’s my right to have court clothes,” Belen said.

However, Vogel wasn’t buying it.

“Actually sir, there’s no jury present. If there was a jury present, most certainly I would not permit you to come into a courtroom wearing prison garb, number one. Number two, I was advised you refused to leave your cell,” Vogel continued. “I told the prison – through counsel – to forcibly extract you and bring you hear if necessary.”

Belen has a lengthy criminal history. In an unrelated case, he has been held without bail since April of last year on four counts of first-degree sexual assault.

Joel Valdez – Belen’s co-defendant in the Cabral case – pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree murder and other charges. He is still awaiting sentencing.

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