Life imprisonment for the five defendants for the murder of the young Argentine Fernando Báez Sosa

The aseptic tone of the reading of the verdict in the trial for the murder of Fernando Baez Sosa was interrupted by a situation with a strong emotional charge. Máximo Thomsen – pointed out as the leader of the group that beat and kicked the young man to death in Villa de Gessel, east of Buenos Aires, in January 2020 – received medical attention due to a decomposition. The reading of the verdict continued without his presence due to his state of health.

Justice sentenced Luciano and Ciro Pertossi, Enzo Comelli, Matías Benicelli and the decomposed Máximo Thomsen to life imprisonment as co-authors of homicide doubly aggravated by treachery and premeditated contest of two or more people in an ideal contest for minor injuries. On the other hand, Ayrton Viollaz, Blas Cinalli and Lucas Pertossi were sentenced to 15 years in prison as participants secondary of the same murder.

In this way, the number one Oral Criminal Court, made up of judges María Claudia Castro, Emiliano Lázzari and Christian Rabaia, maintained the classification requested by the complaint and the Prosecutor’s Office, but instead of sentencing the eight young people to life as co-authors, three of them were left out of the maximum sentence.

The court requested that they be re-entered in Alcaidía 3 of the Melchor Romero prison, in the silver (Buenos Aires), where they were serving preventive detention from March 2020 until the beginning of the process in the city of Dolores. They were transferred there on Monday afternoon. The judges also ordered that Juan Pedro Guarino and Tomás Colazo be investigated for alleged false testimony, as requested by the Prosecutor’s Office.

“We are satisfied but we want perpetual life for everyone,” said Silvino Báez, father of the murdered young man

“We are satisfied but we want perpetual life for everyone,” said Silvino Báez, father of the murdered young man, when together with his women Graciela Sosa were leaving the building. Her lawyers and the Prosecutor’s Office have already announced that they will appeal the three sentences that did not go to life imprisonment. “We are going to Cassation. I have nothing to say today”, anticipated, for his part, Hugo Tomei, the lawyer who from the beginning defends the eight accused of the murder.

Room with heavy police presence

The small room was more crowded than in previous hearings and with a strengthened police presence. This Monday dawned sunny and with a security operation made up of 150 troops and a fence that covered six blocks, prohibiting vehicle traffic and restricting the passage of pedestrians. The residents of the city of Dolores together with some organizations of relatives of victims of different crimes and other conveners who came to support to the parents of the murdered young man, they followed the decision of the judges through their mobiles or the screens of the downtown bars.

in the confectionery The law the convictions were celebrated almost like a goal. The decompensation of Máximo Thomsen aroused irony and the lesser sentences were rejected with insults. “Murderers” and “perpetual” were the cries that resounded the most in the streets of a city with a village spirit totally altered by this media event.

Family and friends of Fernando Báez Sosa demonstrate to demand justice, in Dolores (Argentina), on February 6, 2023. Juan Ignacio Roncoroni / EFE

To the left of the room, surrounded as always by a ring of 11 policemen, the eight defendants stood listening to the reading of the verdict. His defense attorney had asked Judge Castro for authorization to do so, in a sign of “consideration” by the defense and the –up to that moment– defendants.

Federico Marasco, secretary of the court, had already named each of them and communicated the sentences. He had also complied with the formality of detail their names and surnames, identity documents, nicknames, occupations, whose children they were, their dates of birth and their addresses. All with a transience that contrasted with the image of what awaits them, because not even ten minutes had passed since the beginning of the hearing. When almost everything was said –Marasco finished pointing out the secondary participants– Thomsen began to sway slowly, narrowing his eyes, and ended up sitting down.

Relatives present

The Infantry officers looked at each other without fear. Rosalía Zárate, Thomsen’s mother, asked for a doctor “please.” The judge requested care for the 23-year-old and asked the press eviction from the room. “Let me see him!”, “Let me be with him!”, “This is a lie, get rid of all the journalists, the whore who gave birth to them”, “Three years torturing him, I don’t care about anything else”, Zárate shouted.

She occupied one of the three desks in which the parents of the condemned were distributed, also to the left of the room. Her eldest son contained her and hugged her, at first. She then got up, as if physically wanting to do everything possible to be close to Máximo, who did not return to the room when the reading was resumed.

Also present were Comelli’s parents, Marcelo Comelli and María Alejandra Guillén; Marcos Pertossi, father of Lucas; María Paula Cinalli, mother of Blas Cinalli; María Elena Cinalli and Mauro Pertossi, parents of Luciano and Ciro Pertossi; Benicelli’s parents, Mónica Ester Zárate and Héctor Benicelli; Viollaz’s parents, Sergio Viollaz and Erica Edith Pizzatti.

All in one way or another reflected pain: the couples caressed each other, some cried, their bodies slid on the benches with their hands in a pleading position and their heads bowed. Marcos Pertossi got angry twice: first he protested because the press had occupied one of the desks, according to him, reserved for family members. Then because a woman tried to take a picture of the accused in their entry, something that is prohibited, except in cases of authorized media.

A line of police officers stood in the middle of the space. The right side was occupied by lawyers, relatives and friends of the Báez Sosa family. In this sector were Tomás D’Alessandro and Juan Manuel Pereyra Rozas, two friends of the victim who testified as witnesses. The victim’s parents, for their part, occupied the same place as in the allegations, behind their lawyers.

street protests

From early in the morning, through the streets of the city of Dolores, members of organizations of relatives of victims of different crimes began to approach the court area. Private vehicles had arrived. Demonstrators from different parts of the province also gathered, such as a group that had been organized by Facebook. Posters, flags and T-shirts with the face of Fernando and other victims were integrated into the landscape.

To the slogan in the street of “If it is not perpetual it is not justice” was added that of “Neither forget nor forgive”

To the slogan of “If it is not perpetual it is not justice” was added that of “Neither forget nor forgive”. There were also flags of Paraguayan. Fernando’s relatives had arrived from that country. Juan Carlos Blumberg and Alejandra and Oscar Rossi, parents of Julieta Rossi, Fernando’s girlfriend at the time of the murder, were also at the scene.

Death penalty!” Asked a woman in front of Plaza Castelli, the main one in Dolores. “People waited forever for everyone. For the three who received the least sentence, I hope that they will appeal in Cassation. They are all murderers,” said Laura Montes de Oca (57). “Justice was done. Each one has to have what he deserves, “said Monica, who had come from the city of San Juan Bautista, also known as Florencio Varela.

The last hours of the afternoon of this Monday showed some of the blue billboards used in the day piled up in the corners. But those that surrounded the Palace of Courts remained firm in their place, even with their posters and flags, fulfilling the function of an altar dedicated to Fernando Báez Sosa.

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