GAWM: Like Father, Like Daughter. A Spanish Case of Injustice

This post is written by Lydia. And this post contains violence and explicit language which may be upsetting for some readers. Proceed at your own discretion

Once upon a time, in the Mediterranean lands of southern Spain, a Saturday night of April (2013) screams were heard in a normal neighborhood of Almonte, a town in the province of Huelva. 

Among the screams, some of the neighbors said they heard the first victim yell “You son of a b*! What are you doing here? I’m sick of you!”

After 10 long minutes since the scream began, the silence followed… Until two days later, when the family found the bodies inside the house.

The victims were Miguel Ángel, a married man that was going through a separation with his then wife, and their daughter of 8 years old, María. Overall, adding up both of the victims’ wounds, they received around 150 stabs.

The murder took place around 22:00 pm, an hour that in Spanish society is not considered late in the slightest, when a lot of people arrive home or go out to see friends, family… Miguel and his daughter planned on going out for dinner after he had showered. The crime reconstruction made by the police at the time is as follows:

While Miguel was showering, their murderer surprised him. He went into the bathroom, where he attacked Miguel with cold steel. Hearing the ruckus, María goes to the room where the adults are fighting. Upon seeing her father in danger, she ran to the kitchen, took a knife and went back to try to help her dad. But it was useless. After those ten minutes passed, the killer washed the gloves he was wearing and the weapon, drying them in the towels of the bathroom. Then, he left the house.

Now, onto the facts.

Nearly a year after the murder, on June (2014), a suspect is arrested. 

He’s Francisco Javier Medina, the widow’s partner, whom had been romantically involved with her before the murders and before the divorce was official. The three of them (Francisco Javier, Miguel Ángel and the widow) worked at the same supermarket in the town. The arrest occurred after his house was registered by the police, being immediately sent afterwards to preventive prison.

It was determined that María had been a “collateral damage”, an accidental victim, for her father had been the target of the murderer. The intention had been to kill, not rob. 

On January, 2016, the report of a forensic expert hired by the accusation determined that the murderer had gone back to the house after killing the victims. 

However, it’s on the 6th of September, 2017, when the trial against Medina officially commences. Evidence gathered, both in favor and against the suspect:

  • Witness evidence. Two testimonies of the suspect’s coworkers at the supermarket. Both of them claimed that they had seen him at work in the same time slot incompatible with that established for the crime and the time of death.
  • The testimonies were interpreted as valid within reason, despite the fact that in the security cameras of the establishment the suspect appears for the last time before said time slot.
  • DNA of the suspect was found in the bathroom where the murder was committed.
  • Expert evidence was provided at the trial to prove that the DNA belonged to the suspect.
  • Expert counter-evidence was provided by the defending to prove that the DNA was trespassed by a towel that had been left there by the victim’s wife, after they had had sex in the car and not because he was physically in the bathroom of the house.
  • Both reports were considered valid and with probabilities of being possible within reason.
  • None of the doors and windows of the house were forced or broken.
  • The weapon used to commit the murders wasn’t found originally. In December, 2018, a knife was found in one of the sewers of the town, although it hasn’t been officially confirmed if it was the one used in this crime. The knife was found after the jury emitted the sentence.

And so, the 6th of October, 2017, the popular jury emitted his verdict. The suspect, Medina, was declared not guilty.

In the following years, in various occasions the sentence was appealed. All of the times, the request was denied, maintaining the original sentence.

Medina was acquitted in subsequent legal proceedings, both by the Jury Court in the Provincial Court of Huelva, as well as by the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia, and the Supreme Court later. 

The subsequent acquittals, however, should not be understood as a reaffirmation of not guilty, but as a judicial decision limited to ratifying the minimum logical foundation of the original sentence issued.

Meanwhile, Maria and Miguel’s murderer remains -officially- unknown.

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