SANTIAGO Ė A court in the southern Chilean city of Temuco on Wednesday acquitted due to lack of evidence the only suspect in the murder of U.S. psychologist Erica Hagan, who was killed in early September 2014, court sources reported.
Domingo Cofre Ferrada, 45, a security guard at the Bautista College in Temuco, where the 22-year-old victim lived and worked, was acquitted in a unanimous decision by the three judges hearing the case and was immediately released.
The judges said that Cofreís participation in the crime had not been proven, and he had also not been proven to have set a fire whereby prosecutors said he attempted to cover up the killing.
The magistrates thus ruled out that a metal poker entered as evidence by the prosecution was the murder weapon.
Haganís lifeless body was found on Sept. 6, 2014, in the bathtub in her apartment with three heavy blows to her head.
The young woman had been teaching English classes at the high school since July 20, 2014, thanks to an agreement with Georgetown College in Kentucky.
In the early phase of the trial, Cofreís defense attorneys had claimed that police had done a poor job and made many mistakes in investigating the crime.
Roberto Garrido, the spokesman for the Attorney Generalís Office in Temuco, said that the office will wait to learn the full ruling before deciding whether to appeal the ruling.
During the trial, prosecutor Miguel Velasquez requested 20 years behind bars for Cofre for the murder and another five years and one day for setting the fire.
Temuco is located 671 kilometers (416 miles) south of Santiago.