The secretary of Justice of the United States, William Barr, is still evaluating whether four of the six accused of the murder of banker Maurice Spagnoletti will be exposed to the death penalty.
The information was confirmed Thursday by prosecutor Kelly Zenón Matos, in charge of the case, during a status hearing before Judge Francisco Besosa in the Federal Court in Hato Rey.
"They (Death Penalty Committee) told us that they simply do not know," Zenón Matos said before the judge's questions about when Secretary Barr would be making the determination. What is certain is that the death penalty for the four defendants "is under the evaluation of the attorney general." Besosa urged Zenón Matos to insist on the answer.RELATED
Of the six accused in the indictment, four face charges related to the murder: Luis Carmona Bernacet, Yadier Serrano Canales, Rolando Rivera Solís and Alex Burgos Amaro. The other two defendants, with drug charges, are Fabiany Almestica Monge and Alan Lugo-Montalvo.
The federal judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo assigned in February "expert lawyers" in death penalty for the defense of these four defendants. In his order, Consuelo Cerezo explained that the appointment was due to the prosecution "has identified this criminal matter as a potential capital case."
During a hearing in June, Zenón Matos confirmed that they had already submitted all documentation to the Death Penalty Committee of the Department of Justice in Washington.
Spagnoletti was killed by hit men who shot him while driving on the highway near the Minillas tunnel in San Juan on June 15, 2011.
The banker had arrived in Puerto Rico, less than a year earlier, to reorganize Doral Bank, which involved the dismissal of senior executives, other employees and the institution's transaction monitoring.
The parties also discussed during the hearing a matter related to a book of the Yoruba religion, occupied in a raid on the residence of Rivera Solis, the alleged leader of the bargain. Said book allegedly mentions the names of other defendants in the case related to the murder of the banker, but the information was discussed privately with Judge Besosa.
"We will file the motion immediately," Mr. Christopher W. Adams, an expert death penalty lawyer assigned to Rivera Solís, said in the room, although the specific reason was not clear.
Rivera Solís' defense, also composed by Mr. Thomas Lincoln, had said in June that they were opposed to the book being used as evidence in the case.
Rivera Solís and Burgos Amaro were arrested last December, while the other two were already in custody for other charges.
After the arrests, the head of the federal prosecutor's office, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez, said that, according to the investigation, Spagnoletti was killed because he cut a Doral contract with the maintenance company of Rivera Solís, who allegedly used it as part of the operations of a drug trafficking organization.
“The maintenance company gave support to many acts of this group of drug traffickers, especially in money laundering activities, and when the contract was canceled, which was scandalous, in terms of the amount of money they received monthly, there The reason for dispatching Mr. Spagnoletti came up, ”Rodríguez said last December.