QCOSTARICA – The maximum prison term was handed down to four individuals for the 2013 murder of an environmentalist Jairo Mora and the rape of four female volunteers who were with him.
The decision by the Tribunal Penal de Limon (Limon Criminal Court) came after a nine-week retrial of seven men accused of murder, illegal detention, aggravated robbery, sexual abuse and rape on May 31, 2013, in Playa Moín.
The judges sentenced Hector Cash to 90 years in prison and Ernesto Centeno and Brayan Quaesada, each to 87 years in prison and Donald Salmón to 74 years in prison. But, according to law, each will serve out the maximum of 50 years.
Three other defendants: Felipe Arauz, Darwin Salmón and William Delgado were acquitted.
The Fiscalia (prosecutors) said the convicted men were part of a turtle-egg poaching gang who grabbed Mora. They beat him unconscious, tied him to a pickup truck and dragged him along the beach until he suffocated in the sand.
The four female volunteers with him – three Americans and a Spaniard – were tied up, held for hours and raped.
In the first trial, in January 2015, the seven were acquitted, the trial judges argued that there have been errors in the handling of the evidence submitted by the Fiscalia (Prosecutor’s office) and the Judicial Police, the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ).
The retrial was ordered after the Courts of Appeals in Cartago overturned the lower court decision in August of the same year.
The new trial began on January 25.