20 years of the first crime of the ‘assassin of the deck’

They were crimes that had the whole country on edge, not just Madrid, the radius of action of the ‘assassin of the deck’. His story is part of the Black Chronicle of Spain, hitherto plagued by ETA terrorism. However, for a few months he was Alfredo Galán who had the police in check. Behind his most bloodthirsty murders, a 25-year-old young man, anonymous until then, turned himself in in Puertollano (Ciudad Real), his hometown.

On January 24, 2003, 20 years ago now, it was the day everything changed. A serial killer began to be forged. The end of his murders, at least, is what we would like to think, was on July 3 of that same year.

Puertollano, the beginning of the end

that hot day surprised Puertollano due to the unexpected and the deployment of the media. The ‘killer of the deck’ was delivered.

“When they took him out of the courts, that face of a wounded, defenseless animal, as if lost, impressed us all because it conveyed more fragility than that of a psychopath”Manoli Barragan, CMM Ciudad Real

“The street, which is shared by the local police station and the courts, was filled with cameras, journalists, … all waiting to capture that first image of Alfredo Galán. In these last 20 years, I have not forgotten his face because when we talk about a serial killer, we we were expecting someone with a cold looksure”, explains our colleague, a journalist from the CMM Delegation in Ciudad Real, Manoli Barragán.

And yet, “when they took him out of court, that face of a wounded, defenseless animal, as if lost, impressed us all because it conveyed more fragility than that of a psychopath.”

A trail of blood in Madrid

The way of acting and the apparent arbitrariness with which Galán chose his victims, it created confusion and fear by instilling that terrible feeling that anyone could have crossed Alfredo Galán’s path. Criminologists and the forensic psychologist who evaluated him agree that he was a “human predator, with no sign of repentance and that he acted with full awareness and without remorse”.

This ex-soldier who participated in several international missions, at the age of 25 was baptized as the ‘assassin of the deck’. He chose his random victims and finished them off in a cool way, in one shot. His signature, which arose completely by chance, was a playing card from the Spanish deck of cards.

“The murderer of the deck marked my professional career”Cristina Medina, editor and presenter of CMM

He sowed terror in Madrid

We weren’t used to seeing so many murders in such a short time.. I lived in Madrid then and we were afraid,” also recalls our colleague, Cristina Medina, who covered the news as an intern at Castilla-La Mancha Media, then Radio Television Castilla-La Mancha.

“The case of the ‘deck’ marked my professional career” as well as the rest of the CMM information professionals who had to tell him about the trail of blood that Galán left behind.

He murdered six people and three more were about to die in the Community of Madrid. However, he was in Puertollano and to the disbelief of the agents and Galán’s relatives, where he confessed and turned himself in for his crimes. The first, took place exactly 20 years ago. This is how we tell it in Castilla-La Mancha Media.

timeline of a serial killer

January 24, 2003: The serial of crimes of Alfredo Galán begins. In Alonso Cano street (Madrid) murder a goalkeeper in front of his son 2 years.

Image from the CMMPlay documentary about the murderer of the deckCMM

February 5th: Castilla-La Mancha had not yet recovered from the impact of the Dónovan Párraga case, the 12-year-old boy who disappeared in Madrid and whose lifeless body was found in a well in Trijueque (Guadalajara) when we told them that a man had been found dead at a bus stop in Alameda de Osma. Along with the personal belongings of the deceased 28-year-old, they found an ace of cups.

That same afternoon Galán kills again in Alcalá de Henares, in the Bar Rojas (third and fourth victim) where he shoots a 60-year-old woman and a 17-year-old girl. Her mother survived. she becomes the first living witness. The police considered the passionate motive.

7 of March: When we all had the Tarot murders in mind, the case takes a 180 degree turn.

in three songs, crimes begin to connect. The fourth victim of the anonymous Alfredo Galán is a 27-year-old man who was shot point blank. At his feet was a two of cups.

March 18th: A couple appears dead in Arganda del Rey with gunshot wounds. They are the three and four of cups. The mysterious ‘playing card killer’ could have acted by Third time in less than a month and a half.

March 20: The hunt and capture of the “asesino de la baraja” begins, the highest priority and obsession of the Madrid police, which is already pointing towards a profile: a strong man, with black hairwith a goatee and European appearance between 25 and 30 years old.

April 22: The police think they are closer to the murderer. A robot portrait is distributed. The Investigators have a suspect in their crosshairs. There is a protected witness who claims to have seen and identified the murderer of the card.

3rd of July: Unexpected outcome of the case. The news spread like wildfire. A young soldier appeared at the Puertollano police station, his hometown. The death of the six people murdered in Madrid was attributed.

July 4th: They begin to know each other more details of the life of Alfredo Galán. A resident of Madrid, in recent years he has been a security guard and is at his brother’s house in Puertollano when he decides to confess.

July 5th: With the transfer to Madrid of what he claims to be the ‘assassin of the deck’, it is hoped that all doubt will be put to an end with the lineup. Meanwhile, in Puertollano police continue to search the dump where he said he dumped the murder weapon. The search will be incestuous despite the difficulty of working among the garbage in the middle of summer. The gun never turned up.

July 6th: transcend the first statements of the alleged murderer of the deck. He confesses that his only motive was to kill random people and whose only condition is that they be alone.

July 7th: The alleged ‘deck killer’ spends his first night in the penitentiary center of Herrera de la Manchain Ciudad Real. With special measures to guarantee his safety, he is at the disposal of justice while the Police continue to gather evidence of their crimes.

July 9th: The placing of the deck was not the murderer’s invention. It is what transcends the statements of Alfredo Galán. Yes, I use it after the media repercussion that this detail had

4th of September: One of the victims recognizes Alfredo Galán as her aggressor. Hesitantly, she points him out at a lineup. The judge issues an order of indictment against him for six consummated homicidesanother three in the degree of attempt and illegal possession of weapons.

September, 10th: Alfredo Galán repents, not of the crimes but of self-incrimination. During his statements before the judge, pleads not guilty and he assures that the murderers are two men to whom he sold a weapon and from whom he received threats.

31 October: News in the case. One of the survivors of Galán undoubtedly recognize Alfredo Galán as the person who shot him three times in the Madrid town of Tres Cantos.

December 10: The psychiatric report of the ‘card killer’ could not be more shocking. According to the doctors, he enjoyed killing his victims after humiliating them and never felt remorse for it.

February 7, 2005: The trial begins. Galán goes to the courts of Plaza Castilla, in Madrid, with a cap to cover the face. During these days he accepts his right not to declare. He didn’t even answer his lawyer’s questions..

March 10, 2005: The sentence is announced. Alfredo Galan is sentenced to 142 years in prison for six murders and another three attempted. The ciudad realeño, contrary to expectations, signs his own copy of his resolution, while his lawyer announced that he will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Image of the ‘murderer of the deck’ in the trialCMM

in 2028: predictably Galán get out of jail in which he is serving his sentence. In all this time and as can be seen in the documentary that can be seen on CMMPlay, free and at any time, despite being an “exemplary” prisoner, all permits have been denied. He collaborates with the prison.

20 years of the first crime of the ‘assassin of the deck’ – Castilla-La Mancha Media