Worcester, Massachusetts – A Massachusetts man has been charged with murder following the shooting death of a college basketball player during a drive. Pena Canela, 18, pleaded not guilty on Thursday in connection with the incident, as reported by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
The victim, Carl-Hens Beliard, was allegedly in the car with a woman who had an on-and-off-again relationship with Canela, according to CBS News. Prosecutors revealed during the arraignment that Canela admitted to searching for the woman and firing the shots that ultimately took Beliard’s life.
Beliard suffered a gunshot wound to the back, as stated by the prosecutors. Describing the shocking incident, the victim’s mother, Altagrace Beliard, spoke to WBZ-TV, saying that her son was a happy and ambitious young man who loved basketball, and was thriving academically at Salem State University, where he played as a freshman on their basketball team.
The tragic death left the Worcester community devastated, touching the lives of Beliard’s family and friends, as well as the classmates and teammates he had at North High School. Friends and loved ones described him as a joyful and promising individual, expressing disbelief at the senseless act that ended his life.
Canela’s defense attorney, Debra Dewitt, argued that her client was innocent and contested the alleged admission made during the arraignment, stating that there was still a lot of information yet to emerge in the case, according to CBS. The investigation is ongoing, with authorities working to establish a motive for the shooting and gather additional evidence.
The loss of Carl-Hens Beliard has left a deep impact, underscoring the need for justice and a swift resolution to the case. As the legal proceedings continue, the community mourns the loss of a talented athlete and bright young man who had a promising future ahead.