Former military officer Alfredo Galán murdered six people between January and March 2003. He did it randomly, without choosing his victims, in Madrid and other nearby cities. "I could have been killing for 20 years. I have only done it by chance and to prove to myself that murder was easy, "he said in the first interrogation after turning himself in at the police station in Puertollano (Ciudad Real) in July of that year. Two documentary series address the case with the intention of dismantling the myth and revisiting the case with the perspective that time gives. The first of these productions premiered at the beginning of the year on RTVE Play, El asesino de la baraja. The second, titled Baraja: The Killer's Signature, will be released on Netflix on June 9.
Both are composed of three chapters (RTVE Play was expanded with an episode that traces a psychological profile of Galán), share some interviewees and, above all, a story that overwhelmed the whole country. But they also have differences. While the public television series focused especially on the process of investigation and media monitoring, that of the payment platform puts the victims at the center and a critical reflection on everything that surrounded these crimes.
The Ruthless Serial Killer and the Thief Electrician: Anatomy of Spanish Crime
With this new documentary, those responsible wanted to revisit a case that has more edges than it might seem at first glance and dismantle the profile of a serial killer whose image is far from the romanticized idea that is sometimes transmitted. The production shows home recordings in which Galán is seen partying or in the missions in which he participated a few weeks before he committed the crimes. It also has the analysis of psychologists who treated him, the lawyer who defended him and other lawyers who participated in the trial, as well as army colleagues who explain what it was like then. Journalists of events look back to remember that black 2003 in Madrid, one of the years with a higher crime rate, and the fever that raised this case in the newsrooms.
Alfredo Galán, upon his arrival at the courts of Puertollano in July 2003.MANUEL RUIZ TORIBIO (EFE)
By collating the documentation they collected, the docuseries shows how Galán's crimes took place interspersed between the sessions he had to attend with a psychiatrist. In addition to mental health, another issue that the series points to is the responsibility of the State; The question arises, for example: how could a soldier bring to Spain from Bosnia a Tokarev pistol hidden in a television? And another one: would the investigation have found him if he had not surrendered? In the list requested by the investigators with the people who had gone through the treatment and mobilized in humanitarian missions in the Kosovo area, Alfredo Galán did not appear.
"We wanted to see what was behind the movie we've always been told about the killer in the deck," says Marga Luis, executive producer of the docuseries. To do this, they leave aside the chronological account of the events and focus on explaining how the myth was created and then dismantling it. "In its day it became a real film forgetting that we were talking about people, that there are people who suffered a lot from all sides, theirs, the police, lawyers, investigators, and victims," continues Marga Luis in an interview by video call. Amanda Sans, director of the project, agrees: "Memory is volatile and people remember the anecdote, the letters, but it is incredible to review the case and see the amount of layers it had, which at the script level has allowed us a lot of twists."
An image from the documentary series 'Baraja: the signature of the murderer'.
Both underline the self-critical sense of many of the testimonies of the more than 20 interviewees for this production. The material collected for this review of the case exceeded 60 hours of recordings. An investigation team composed of more than 40 people has worked for almost two years to, among other things, view more than 150 hours of archival material, to which is added the nearly 24 hours of recording of the 14 sessions of the trial, in addition to the study of all the documentation of the summary of the case. Therefore, Sans highlights the difficulty of the editing phase, in which they had to select what would go in the three episodes and what was left out. "There was a lot of information, many layers to deal with, and at the same time we had to ensure that the series did not fall at any time, that it maintained a fast-paced thriller so that people see it in its entirety," he adds.
The Survivor's Voice
One of Baraja's most shocking testimonies: the signature of the murderer is that of Teresa Sánchez García, one of the victims who survived Galán's attacks. At the Rojas bar in Alcalá de Henares, which she owned, Galán murdered her son and a client. Teresa was shot three times. She played dead to try to fool the shooter. He saved his life after a long convalescence in hospital. The first thing he did when he returned to the street, he tells in the documentary, was to visit his son in the cemetery. "I lost everything. My whole life in seven seconds. And nobody, nobody, has bothered to call me, to know how I'm doing," he says on camera. "When he shot me I didn't feel anything. You don't feel pain. You don't feel anything. So I was like, 'Well, if I throw myself off this bridge, it's not going to hurt.' But what hurt me the most were those behind me, my family. And I said, 'Maite, you can't do that to your family, you have to keep living.' And that's what I'm doing."
Having the testimony of the victims was essential for those responsible for the series. "The construction of the serial killer that was made ate everything else," says the producer, who highlights the interview of Teresa Sánchez García. "The normal thing would be that in a documentary we see the victim crying and not be able to articulate two words in a row. In this case, Teresa had a lot to tell. The killer of the deck has flooded everything and destroyed her life in seven seconds, as she tells it. The media wanted to have her then and, 20 years later, she tells us her pain," adds Marga Luis. "On set, when Teresa spoke it was a moment that left the whole team out of the game. It is a devastating testimony, with a very resounding dignity. His narration of the crime and everything he lived after is for me the peak moment of the series, because it allows you to empathize and put yourself in the shoes of the victims, "completes Sans. As Beatriz de Vicente, lawyer and criminologist, says in the documentary, "Alfredo Galán will always be the murderer of the deck and the victims are forgotten and blurred in time."
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