Francisco Javier Almeida, the 55-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting and killing Álex, a nine-year-old boy, on October 28, 2021 in Lardero (La Rioja) is guilty of the crime, as declared this Thursday by the popular jury in the Provincial Court of La Rioja.
The jury unanimously finds Almeida guilty of having carried out sexual acts against the minor – something that the spokesman has indicated that the defendant himself has been acknowledging during the course of the trial – and also of having killed him.
He specifies the verdict that he did it on purpose, which the man had denied at the hearings.
The citizen court considers the facts proven based on the testimonies provided by eyewitnesses and the agents who participated in the investigation of the case.
It also considers that the "extreme violence" that Almeida exercised against the child by abusing and killing him, exerting pressure against the neck, which caused him to suffocate without the child having "the slightest opportunity to defend himself" is also manifest. the difference in size and age of Almeida and the minor.
The jury emphasizes that there is no record that the defendant tried to ask for help to help the child after assaulting him, and that, upon his arrival at the scene, a police officer had to take his body against his will.
"The defendant's attitude was to hide the body," the verdict specifies.
In addition, the jury affirms that the defendant hid relevant facts on the first day of the hearing, that he incurred in contradictions and that it is not proven that the defendant had ingested alcohol, as he alleged.
After reading the verdict, the Prosecutor's Office has raised to final its request to impose a reviewable permanent prison sentence for death and 15 years in prison, without mitigation, for the crime of sexual abuse.
The popular and private accusation has adhered to this request, to which they add that he be sentenced to probation, impossibility of residing in La Rioja, and impossibility of communicating with the family for up to 10 years after the final sentence has been carried out.
The request to the court that Almeida be sentenced to pay one million euros for each parent is added.
The defense has stated that it has no arguments against the verdict.
Before concluding the hearing and giving the trial seen for sentencing, the judge has given the defendant the opportunity to speak, but Almeida has rejected it and has remained silent.
The events occurred around eight in the afternoon on October 28, 2021 in Lardero.
Almeida approached little Álex, nine years old, who was celebrating Halloween in a playground dressed as the character of the girl from
She managed to take him to his house, where, according to the Prosecutor's Office, she raped and strangled him.
When he was leaving his house with the minor's body in his arms, he was arrested.
The prosecutor, the family and the popular prosecution, which is exercised by the Clara Campoamor association, had already requested that Almeida be sentenced to permanent reviewable prison, the maximum sentence contemplated in the Penal Code.
The defense had asked for acquittal or, in the case of a guilty verdict, that the extenuating factors of reparation for damages and confession be taken into account.
The deliberation of the nine members of the jury began this Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., they were suspended at 9:45 p.m. and today they continued until six in the afternoon.
"Their work has been intense and very difficult and I thank them for their dedication and effort," the judge acknowledged before dissolving the jury.
During the trial, which was held from March 20 to 28 at the Provincial Court of Logroño, Almeida has remained undeterred by the accusation's accounts, plagued by heartbreaking episodes.
He agreed to answer the questions of the prosecutor and the parties, although often with evasive answers.
When he was questioned about how he killed the boy, he claimed not to remember what happened.
"I have something cloudy [the memory]," he insisted.
The only question he refused to answer was one formulated by the prosecution lawyer on March 20, who described Almeida as "a recurring criminal."
“It's not the first time he's done it, is it?” he asked her.
"I'm not going to answer that," settled the defendant.
To questions from his defense, Almeida stressed that he could have acted under the influence of alcohol, since he had drunk "a lot" because at that time in his life "he was lost, like a zombie."
“I think I don't remember because of the alcohol.
Sometimes I lose connection with reality”, he declared.
An agent of the Civil Guard tried to dismantle this theory by later assuring that the defendant's breath "did not smell of alcohol."
Almeida was sentenced in 2001 to 30 years in prison for the murder and sexual assault of a real estate agent in 1998 in Logroño.
He finished his sentence on August 17 of this year, but in April 2020 he agreed to the third degree of prison with the opposition of the majority of the members of the Treatment Board of the El Dueso prison (Cantabria).
The now found guilty, in addition, had already been sentenced in 1993 to seven years in prison for a sexual assault on a minor.