Wednesday, 8 November 2023, 15:37
The former husband of murdered Lucía Garrido, whose corpse appeared floating in the pool of his Alhaurín de la Torre property in 2008, has finally been found guilty of the crime, along with the hitman he hired. According to a Malaga court's verdict, the two executed the crime with “planning, cruelty and coldness”.
Lucía Garrido was 48 years old when she was killed on the afternoon of 30 April 2008. She had suffered from domestic violence during her marriage, which ended in 2006. It continued, after the breakup, and was in addition to demands from her former husband to leave Finca Los Naranjos, from where he carried out various activities related to the breeding and keeping of exotic animals, and drug trafficking.
The jurors, in the retrial which began on Monday 23 October at Malaga Provincial Court, considered it proven that, prior to the murder, the ex-husband coerced his victim in multiple ways and for a considerable time. They heard he even cut off the water and electricity supply and slashed the tyres of her car. The jury considered it proven that he had hired a hitman, through a third party, for the killing and he paved the way for him to do so by removing the two guard dogs on the property so that Lucía Garrido wouldn't be alerted to the presence of strangers.
On the fateful April day, the woman was hit with a brick to the head from behind, without being able to defend herself. After that she was stabbed in the neck and dragged into the pool, where, after a few hours, her lifeless body was discovered.
Both defendants had been acquitted by a Malaga court in 2019 following a hung jury. After reviewing the case, the Superior Court of Justice of Andalucía (TSJA) ordered, in 2020, that the verdict and sentence be partially annulled, and only maintained the acquittals of two other defendants involved in the case, both former Guardia Civil officers.
In this latest trial the jury found the hitman guilty of the murder thanks mainly to DNA evidence which placed him at the crime scene. In his summing up, the judge referred to the “cold planning” in which the crime was carried out by the pair which was “to facilitate other criminal activities”.
Additionally, the alibis provided by the accused did not convince the members of the jury, they highlighted in their verdict. In the case of the ex-husband, they considered that in the preceding days and on the day of the crime he spent time accumulating exaggerated receipts for several unjustified trips that, in their opinion, he made solely for the purpose of placing him away from the scene of the murder of Lucía Garrido. As for the other individual, who said that he was in Malaga city applying for his driving licence and then went to Fuengirola for his mother's birthday, the jury considered that he had not provided any evidence to prove that he went to that family reunion and, on the contrary, he would have had time to go to Finca Los Naranjos and kill Lucía.
The prosecution team requested the maximum sentence of 24 years in prison for the Lucía's former husband and 22 years behind bars for the hitman, given that both present a significant "flight risk". The request that the men be held in custody was not met, but the judge had ordered they should have their passports taken away and stipulated that they must present themselves at the court every 15 days, until they appear to be sentenced for their crimes.
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