“Scandalous acquittal” were the words used by the prosecutors on last Friday’s decision of the Court of Justice that carried out the trial of Nicolas Pachelo for the crime of María Marta García Belsunce. If the verdict is confirmed in higher instances, the crime with the greatest repercussion of the last 20 years will go unpunished.
As was known days before the verdict, after a leak to some parties and to the press, the judgment was divided and Pachelo’s innocence in the García Belsunce case was determined with the votes of judges Osvaldo Rossi and Esteban Andrejin. The president of the Court, Federico Ecke, was the only one who, in a minority, considered the defendant as the author of the crime and voted for his conviction.
“The specialists said that Pachelo is a psychopath who is going to kill again”, affirmed the prosecutor Ferrari during the exit from the courts and announced that they will appeal before the Buenos Aires Cassation. “We are going to challenge it and we are going to turn it around,” promised the prosecutor, who had already signed the appeal document.
The main argument of the prosecutors Ferrari, Andrés Quintana and Federico González to present the appeal is that they understand that there was an “arbitrary assessment of the evidence” during the trial and maintained that there was a “flagrant violation of due process”. Prosecutors noted that the judge was not impartial in the process.
The judicial officials emphasize that evidence that had already been tried in the processes that were previously developed was presented again, which is not allowed, all within the framework of the third trial of the crime in which Carlos Carrascosa and his family were already acquitted. The appeal was filed before the Oral Criminal Court (TOC) 4 of San Isidro, which made the decision and must submit it to the Court of Criminal Cassation of the Province of Buenos Aires before December 22.
Pachelo will remain in prison, since the same court sentenced him to nine years and six months in prison for a series of six robberies committed in countries of Greater Buenos Aires, which even he himself confessed during the debate that began on July 13 last. The former neighbor of the murdered sociologist was accused of the crime of “triplely aggravated homicide for having been committed with the use of a firearm, for its criminis causa commission and aggravated by treachery in a real contest of the crime of robbery qualified for the use of weapons “.
The homicide could go unpunished because more than 15 years have passed -the limit for the prescription of cases with crimes with a life sentence–, and no new suspect can be investigated or charged.
The sociologist García Belsunce (50) was found dead on October 27, 2002 in her chalet in the country Carmel de Pilar, with her body semi-submerged in the bathtub. Her husband, Carlos Carrascosa, stated at first that he thought she had suffered an “accident” and had hit her head against a ceiling beam and the taps.
The autopsy, carried out 36 days after the death, showed that she had been killed with six bullets to the head, five of which penetrated the skull and the sixth — “el pituto” — ricocheted off her, with a . 32 long.
The original prosecutor in the case, Diego Molina Pico, always maintained that Carrascosa and other relatives were the murderers and concealers and for this reason he charged them and brought them to trial, but the Buenos Aires Cassation ruling that acquitted the widower in 2016 –and which remained final in 2020–, highlighted serious irregularities in that investigation.
A total reinvestigation of the case meant that in 2017 Pachelo was charged as the author of this homicide with a motive for robbery, and thus he reached this third trial, where the tax hypothesis was not proven and he obtained his acquittal.
Prosecutors ask the court to process their appeal “without delay” | Against the acquittal of Nicolás Pachelo