Friday, March 6, 2009

Demonstration at NY Spanish Embassy Over "Spain's Matthew Shepard's"

New Yorkers Gather in Solidarity Demonstration Against the Acquital of Jacobo Pineiro Rial’s Murder of Gay Couple in Vigo, Spain.

In an act of solidarity New Yorkers will gather in front of the Spanish Embassy, 150 East, 58 Street, on Saturday March 7, 2009 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM.

On the morning of January 13th, 2006, Isaac Ali Dani Peréz Triviño and Julio Anderson Luciano were both stabbed to death by Mr. Pineiro.. “The bodies showed a total of 57 stab wounds, according to forensics…After killing them, Piñeiro took a shower and cleaned himself up. He filled a suitcase with some of their belongings to make it look like a robbery and then spilled clothing all over the place. He poured alcohol over everything, including his victims' bodies, turned on the gas spigot on the stove, and set everything on fire.”, mentions Andres Duque of Blabbeando, the fist site to report the horrific murder and outcome in the US.

Three years after the brutal murder, Julio Pineiro Rial almost walked out a free man. He was acquitted by a jury of both murders on the basis of ‘self-defense’. His sentencing still remains to take place for setting fire to the apartment where Isaac and Julio were murdered. Insiders estimate that his sentence will be around 15 to 20 years.

Crossposted via Queer Justice League.

10 comments:

Isaac said...

The acquittal in the so-called Oporto Street murder was a scandal in Spain. There are many inaccuracies in the description of the trial. This sentence is appealable, was it appealed and, independently, the jury decision was also appealed. Therefore, there will be a new trial, either in a higher court or in the same with a new jury. The murderer is not free; he was sentenced to prison for 20 years. Although he could be free after 10 years, he is not free. The jury found him not guilty of murder, but guilty of arson, and the judge sentenced the maximum penalty allowed, since the neighbors were in danger.

The case was a scandal because of the mixture of homophobia, racism and xenophobia in the jury decision. Moreover, there exists a precedent: the so-called Wanninkhof case. Dolores Vázquez was found guilty of the murder of Rocio Wanninkhof, the daughter of her former lover. The jury found her guilty without solid evidence, but upon prejudices about the bisexuality of Ms. Vázquez. Fortunately, when the murder and rapist was arrested, he confessed his previous crimes.

So, I don’t know the mood of the demonstration, but Spanish Justice has not released a murderer upon homophobia. I trust our judicial system. I don’t trust the popular jury system; it was recently implemented, with bad results. I expect the jury decision to be annulled. But, anyway, a higher court will overturn the sentence before Mr. Piñeiro have served the sentence for arson.

Karlo said...

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1607015762&ref=ts#/event.php?eid=55296567374&ref=ts

Karlo said...

Sorry, wrong link above to the event.
This is the right one:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=55296567374&ref=ts

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I’m a gay man and I lived in that neighborhood for a few years, just 5 min away from the scene of the crime, and I agree with the nuanced perspective of Isaac’s post. There was a lot of talk about what happened that night, about a party gone too wild, and a psychotic episode due to a combination of drugs and alcohol. From what I heard at the time, the killer also had an earlier reputation for mental instability and generally antisocial and aggressive conduct, not only towards homosexuals. He was portrayed as a loaded gun triggered by an unlucky cocktail.

What’s at stake is determining the degree of responsibility and the mental state of Mr. Pineiro at the moment of the crime. His subsequent conduct in covering up the crime was punished with the maximum sentence. The comments I heard in the neighborhood at the time weren’t about understanding homophobia but about wild night life, drugs and serious mental disorders. The neighbors usually remarked that the victims were nice guys with only some complaints about too many noisy, wild parties. For several cultural reasons, I agree that Spain is “No Country for Popular Jury,” but I wouldn’t say that this is “the Twinkie defense” revisited, like in Milk’s case. Mr. Pineiro admitted the crime and confessed that it was a product of what he is. I’m confident that he won’t slip through the system and that he will be treated eventually as what he is and judged accordingly.

We should keep in mind that people with serious mental disorders are a minority too, faced with their own adverse circumstances, discrimination and stereotypes. I wouldn’t want to jettison the advances that have been made towards a fair treatment under the law because of our own understandable outrage at having seen too many gays violently killed already.

Right now, I think we all would benefit from the doubt. I would wait for the last word before taking to the streets.

David

Isaac said...

I’m glad to read the perspective of a Vigo resident. I may only transmit the reaction in the rest of Spain. It’s interesting to know the reaction in the neighborhood. Moreover, coming from an openly gay man, your words are suspicion-free. If Mr. Piñeiro has serious mental disorders, the procedure is psychiatric evaluation and eximente por enajenación mental. The scandal was considering self-defense to give more stabs than in Caesar’s assassination. So, the trial should be repeated. It won’t be the Twinkie defense revisited, since alcohol and cocaine are well-know in our penal system.

We thought that it was an issue of homophobia, racism and xenophobia because of the obvious parallelism with Wanninkhof case, but it might be a plain case of sexism. If the victims were girls, Mr. Piñeiro would have been asked to hang on Rande bridge, independently of his mental state. Compare with Marta del Castillo’s murder. Justice should be kept apart of media circus. A crime is not worse depending on the media coverage. This proposal of life imprisonment is pure opportunism. Might it be similar in the Oporto Street murder?

Isaac said...

As the case is well-known in Spain, I haven’t realized the title, but I’ve just looked for information about the Matthew Shepard case and I found that there is no common point with Oporto Street case. Matthew Shepard was killed by two men in their domain, while in Oporto Street murder the numerical factor and the home factor were inverted. These circumstances are relevant in order to consider the gay panic defense. As far as I know, Matthew Shepard’s crime was deliberately planned, while Oporto Street crime was a tragic end of a wild party.

So, stop making parallelisms among completely different cases.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to have a more precise account of the deliberations. I'm sure that the family and the collectives have a strong legal advice. We want to be sure that the trial is going to be repeated and demonstrating might help to get that goal. I’d like to know if the reasons backing the verdict were just the difficulties of dealing in a satisfactory way with complex issues of responsibility, intoxication and possibly mental disorders, or if the jury was just being sympathetic with the “gay panic” line. Call me naïve but I want to believe that it was the first argument. However, the amount of stabs and the way Mr. Pineiro acted does not fit with a “self-defense” argument. This inconsistency was so shocking that everybody understands that the trial has to be repeated. The family and the collectives have all my support in securing this goal. If after the new trial it becomes evident that there is a “gay panic” line motivating the verdict, then we will have to seriously demonstrate, not just against Mr. Pineiro having an inadequate punishment but against a society that thinks that homosexual persons are hidden menaces and dispensable victims.

David

Isaac said...

I that the words "en legítima defensa y por miedo insuperable a ser violado o muerto" [in self-defense for fear of being raped or killed] indicate a gay panic defense.

Anonymous said...

But the meaning depends on the presupposition of Mr. Pineiro's mental state at the moment. A jury attributing a paranoia is not the same as understanding that there was a real case for "legitimate defense." That's why more information about the deliberations could help.

David

Isaac said...

EL PAIS publishes El Tribunal Superior de Galicia obliga a repetir un juicio por doble asesinato. The higher court has annulled the absolving sentence and the trial will be repeated with another judge and juries. Notice that the emphasis is on the murder and the stabs.

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