MEXICO CITY – A Mexican court sentenced Jorge Fernandez on Monday to 47 years in prison for the July 2017 murder of his wife, Spanish citizen Pilar Garrido.
Also imposed at the hearing was the payment of compensation for damages of some 471,000 pesos ($24,261).
Fernandez originally faced a sentence of 50 years, defense lawyer Jesus Eduardo Govea told EFE, but had it reduced because he was judged not of “maximum danger.”
He also lost his parental rights over his son, Dalmau, who has been in Spain since the man was jailed late in August 2017.
Govea said that next Wednesday a hearing will give an explanation of the sentence, and from that moment they will have a period of 10 days to file an appeal.
“I’m sure we’ll see him through this and get him set free. But it will take time,” the attorney said, renewing his criticism of prosecutors for their failure to offer any motive.
Prosecutors in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas accused Fernandez of beating and strangling his wife.
Fernandez has maintained his innocence throughout the process and Garrido’s mother and sister testified for the defense.
Pilar Garrido, 34, disappeared on July 2, 2017, while driving back with her husband and baby to their home in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, 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.