The Defense of the accused of murdering her boyfriend, a 67-year-old from Biscay, and giving his skull to a friend in 2019 in Castro Urdiales has defended the innocence of carmen merino and has pointed to a possible cover-up of the crime on his part.
This has been transferred by his lawyer, who calls for the free acquittal of Merino and a subsidiary penalty for concealment, on the ninth day of the popular jury trial against this 64-year-old Sevillian, who has not exercised her right to the last word.
The Prosecutor’s Office has maintained the request for 25 years in prison for a crime of murder with treachery and aggravated by kinship, since the defendant and the victim, Jesús María Baranda, had a sentimental relationship and had lived together for seven years.
In addition, it requests compensation for moral damages of 20,000 euros to each of the two children and the brother of the victim. The compensation of 20,000 euros for the victim’s cousin has been withdrawn.
The private prosecution, which represents the children, has maintained its reviewable permanent prison request and 70,000 euros for both.
A “MACABRE” CRIME
In his final report addressed to the popular jury, which this Friday will deliberate on the guilt of Carmen Merino, the prosecutor has argued that the defendant planned the death of Jesús Mari and then dismembered the corpse “moved by economic interest.”
The prosecutor recalled that Carmen Merino searched the internet, after Jesús Mari changed the will in her favor, “how long does it take for a corpse to decompose” and “if my husband disappears, do I collect the pension?”, and made “collection of Diazepam” in the months before her boyfriend’s death.
The public ministry dates the date of death to February 13, since the day before the victim stopped calling regularly and the defendant herself stopped contacting him by phone.
In addition, he has highlighted, in the later dates Carmen Merino made various cleaning purchases, such as ammonia, garbage bags, bleach or reinforced gloves; a jigsaw and a chainsaw, and several bottles of whiskey.
“He ended the life of Mr. Baranda and had to dismember the body and eliminate all the evidence. Mrs. Merino is not a psychopath (…) she had to use alcohol to be able to undertake the macabre task that happened at that home,” has summarized. For this part, the defendant used diazepam to “kill along with another substance” or facilitate the death of Jesús Mari.
The prosecutor believes that Carmen Merino hatched a plan to simulate the disappearance of Jesús Mari, sending messages to his friends and family posing as him to reassure them and has pointed out that he did not want to report it until the victim’s cousin went to the Civil Guard.
The private prosecution has abounded in the “obvious contradictions” of Merino’s testimony, who answered the questions of his lawyer and the jury, and has focused on September 28, 2019, when the skull was found.
“It tells us science fiction”, pointed out the lawyer, who has accused Carmen Merino of building a “fantasy and uncertain” story in which she has “lacked the truth”. “It is so illogical what is said that it is absolutely inconceivable,” she has said.
As he has argued, after the defendant gave his friend the skull of Jesús Mari – the only part of the body found – alleging that they were sex toys and that she opened the box, Merino did not defend his innocence, but “lowered his head.” “Do you think that a person who is innocent does not defend himself?” the lawyer has highlighted.
COVER-UP OR HOMICIDE
The defense considers that it has not been possible to prove “what and how Jesús Mari died” nor that Carmen Merino killed him, because “the investigation was worse than a disaster” and no more possible perpetrators have been explored, so it should begin “from scratch”, in his opinion.
The lawyer has pointed out that the defendant’s neighbors did not hear anything unusual; the house of the friend who found the skull was not searched or investigated; nor was the owner of one of the phones from which messages were sent asked; or they inquired about a drop of blood that was found in the victim’s house.
And although he has assured that “he does not attribute the murder to anyone”, he has indicated that the person who had financial problems was “the son of Carmen Merino” and had “a highly suspicious attitude” regarding Jesús Mari.
For the defense, “there is a third option” apart from Merino’s guilt or innocencesince, as he has stated, the evidence indicating that the defendant dismembered the corpse, posed as him sending messages and delivered his skull to a friend “does not prove that he killed Jesús Baranda”, but rather “would only demonstrate the cover-up “.
“I think that possibility exists,” he reasoned.
In relation to Diazepam, he has highlighted that the technicians have not been able to determine the amount that was taken or the effects, for which reason he has considered that, if it is proven that Merino killed her boyfriend, it could not be murder, but homicide, because he does not see treachery