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Husband convicted of Spanish woman's murder in Mexico

MEXICO SPAIN | 10 de enero de 2019

Mexico City, Jan 10 (epa-efe).- A Mexican court on Thursday found Jorge Fernandez guilty of the 2017 murder of his wife, Spanish citizen Pilar Garrido.

"It was a very unfortunate ruling," defense attorney Jesus Eduardo Govea said, indicating that Fernandez's legal team plans to appeal.

The sentence is to be handed down at a court hearing next Monday.

Prosecutors in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas accused Fernandez of strangling his wife and dumping the body near where the murder was committed.

Fernandez pleaded innocent to all charges and the defense argued that there was no conclusive evidence against him and 34-year-old Garrido's cause of the death could not be determined.

The victim's mother and sister testified on Tuesday in favor of the defendant.

Thursday's court session began at 8 am in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, and lasted for almost three hours.

"The sentence is not definitive and suffers from countless irregularities," Govea said.

Pilar Garrido disappeared on July 2, 2017, while driving back with her husband and baby to their home in Ciudad Victoria after spending several days at the beach.

Later that month, her skeletal remains were found along with shreds of clothing near the place she went missing, and 15 days afterward DNA tests identified the victim as the Spanish woman.

The case took a turn on Aug. 29, 2017, when prosecutors ordered the arrest of Fernandez based on ostensible contradictions in his statements to authorities.

Fernandez spent a year behind bars awaiting trial, which began last Aug. 30, only to suffer from a succession of interruptions, including the resignation of several defense lawyers - purportedly under pressure from the prosecution - and the shooting deaths last month of one of the judges and a prosecutor.

Judge Abelardo Ibarra and prosecutor Erica Granados were killed when armed men opened fire on their vehicle on a street in Ciudad Victoria.

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