Saturday, Feb 04, 2023

Four jailed in Colombia for honeymoon murder of prosecutor

Four jailed in Colombia for honeymoon murder of prosecutor

Gang members given 23-year terms for shooting dead Paraguayan anti-corruption prosecutor Marcelo Pecci
Four people who confessed to taking part in the murder of a Paraguayan prosecutor who was on his honeymoon have each been sentenced to 23 years in jail.

Marcelo Pecci, 45, known for fighting organised crime, was shot dead on the Colombian island of Barú near the Caribbean city of Cartagena on 10 May.

The Brazilian prison gang First Capital Command, a major exporter of cocaine, was involved in coordinating the murder, according to Colombian authorities, who also said the crime may have be connected to international drug trafficking and “radical terrorism”.

A fifth person has pleaded innocent and a sixth remains at large, according to Colombia’s police.

The judge presiding over the case in Cartagena said on Friday that a full sentence of 47 years for each of the four defendants was cut by half as part of a plea deal, but they ruled out other benefits such as serving any of the sentences at home.Sign up to First Edition, our free daily newsletter – every weekday morning at 7am BST

Pecci and his wife, the Paraguayan journalist Claudia Aguilera, announced her pregnancy on Instagram shortly before the couple were approached by two men on a beach near their hotel.

“The final sunset in Barú, but we’ll have millions more together,” she wrote.

She told authorities one of the men later shot Pecci.

The organisers of the murder allegedly paid $500,000 (£410,000) for the killing, the Colombian attorney general, Francisco Barbosa, said in a press conference earlier this month.

Pecci, 45, had worked on several high-profile contract killing cases in Paraguay. He notably led an investigation into the shooting of the drug trafficker Marcos Rojas Mora in a crowd of 20,000 people at a music festival in the town of San Bernardino in January. A bystander, Cristina “Vita” Aranda, a social media influencer, was also killed in that attack.

Paraguay’s president, Mario Abdo Benítez, last month condemned the “cowardly” murder, saying the “entire Paraguayan nation is in mourning” and that the country would “step up its commitment to fight organised crime.

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