The Ministerio Public (Prosecutor’s Office) is asking for 68 years in prison Bismarck Espinoza Martínez, the only suspected in the murder of 35-year-old American-Venezuelan tourist, Carla Stefaniak.
The sentencing was made by the Prosecutor’s office at the close of the trial against Espinoza, which will continue today, Friday, in the Pavas Criminal Courts.
The testimony by the coroner, Adriana Murillo, revealed that Carla’s death was caused by a puncture wound in the neck, so severe that it crossed the muscles of the neck and spine.
The Ministerio Publico is requesting a prison term of 18 years for Espinoza. In addition, Stefaniak’s family is asking the court for an additional 50 years in prison and US$1.4 million dollars as compensation for the murder, confirmed Joseph Rivera, a lawyer for the family.
Prosecutor Ricky González said that the lies by the defendant aggravated his actions and therefore the maximum penalty was requested for the crime of homicide.
The prosecutor added that, despite the fact that the murder weapon and other elements of material evidence were not found, there are clear indications of the subsequent conduct of the accused, which were evidenced in the trial.
González said there is not the slightest doubt that it was Espinoza who killed the Carla Stefaniak. “The lie is was what led to the investigation,” said González referring to the first statements the suspect gave to police investigating the woman’s disappearance.
“There is great doubt about something he said and that is that Doña Carla, being so nice, leaves her room, walks down a hill, carries all her bags to the car herself, and he doesn’t help her, he only opened the gate for her,” González said, referring to the statement by the suspect telling investigators that Stefaniak had left the property early in the morning in an unknown vehicle.
This was all before the murder was known to have taken place.
In the conclusions, the prosecutor said there was no doubt that Espinoza had committed the murder and tried to cover it up, disposing of the body a short distance from the property, where it was found on December 4, several days after the murder that had taken place between November 27 and 28, 2018 when the woman rejected the suspect’s sexual advances.
In the closing argument, the prosecutor said the suspect tried to have sexual relations with the victim but she rejected him and it was because of that the murder occurred.
The wound that caused Stefaniak’s death was on one side of the neck, was deep according to the forensic account.
The body of the foreigner was located about 100 meters from the room that the woman had rented, was half-naked, and buried in half, between leaves and branches.
The 18-year sentence is for simple homicide, the Prosecutor’s Office indicated that it could not ask for more because there was not enough evidence for a charge of “homicidio calificado” (premeditated murder).