QCOSTARICA – Bayardo Francisco Mercado Doña, 39, was sentenced in Nicaragua to 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife, Vilma Ramona de Jesús Ledezma Garita, 85. The crime was committed in December 2019 in the citadel, La Carpio, in Uruca, San José, Costa Rica.
Although the homicide occurred in Costa Rica and the investigation was carried out by the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) and the Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office, Mercado was tried in his native nation, where he fled after the homicide.
Nicaragua does not extradite its citizens, but it will prosecute them for crimes committed outside of Nicaragua. So after the arrest of the man, on January 5, 2022, in Managua, the entire judicial process took place in that city, although close coordination was maintained at all times between Nicaraguan and Costa Rican authorities.
During the investigation, it was revealed that the man killed his wife to steal ¢5 million colones, as well to sell the house the couple lived in and keep the money.
According to La Prensa in Nicaragua, last Friday, June 3, the man accepted the charges, for which the judge of the Sixth Specialized in Violence of Managua, Karla García Zepeda, after assessing the facts, sentenced him. Mercado Doña had no past criminal record.
According to Judge García, “The accused had carried out preparatory acts for the execution of the act, such as the excavation of a grave days before the homicide.”
“Furthermore, on the very day of the event, he carried out a sudden, unexpected and unforeseen attack against the victim, taking advantage of the victim’s situation of helplessness due to being an elderly person, therefore a condition or situation of vulnerability, an impossibility of defense on the part of the victim”, explained the judge in her arguments, detailed La Prensa.
After sentencing, Mercado was transferred to La Modelo prison in Tipitapa, where he will serve his time until April 4, 2047.
On January 14, 2020, the OIJ confirmed the discovery of the body of Vilma Ledezma in a pit covered with concrete. She had been missing since December 23, 2019.
Her body was in a hole about three meters deep, which had been dug in one of the rooms on Ledezma’s property, the OIJ said at the time.
The autopsy determined that the victim was hit several times in different parts of the body and shot in the head.
The search for the woman began four days before the discovery of her body when a tenant of hers told the authorities that the man had hired some neighbors to dig a deep hole inside the house and that, ten days later, the lady disappeared.
Suspecting that the body had been buried in the house, la Fuerza Publica (national police) was called in to secure the scene until judicial agents obtained a search warrant. Once on the property, a sniffer dog alerted the agents, allowing agents to dig up the body.
At that time, the victim’s neighbors said that Doña Vilma had been married to Mercado for nearly six years, who was 35 years younger than her. However, one of the woman’s tenants assured that the relationship was “toxic”.
The investigation revealed that Mercado had done the paperwork to sell the house, but did not complete it.