Thursday, October 14, 2021 | 5:00 a.m.
After three debate hearings, in which serious evidence was detailed against the defendants, Luciano Benítez (51) and his son Emiliano Benítez (29) were sentenced to 15 years in prison for an assault perpetrated in April 2017 on a farm. from Campo Grande.
In addition, the One Criminal Court of Oberá revoked the conditionality that favored Emiliano Benítez for an act of robbery qualified by the use of weapons and accumulated, and unified the sentence of yesterday with the one issued by the same Court on October 2, 2015, imposing a single penalty of 18 years in prison.
Although the defendants came to trial accused of doubly qualified robbery for the use of a weapon in the town and in a gang, illegal possession of a firearm and sexual abuse with carnal access, the day before they were acquitted for the last crime.
The Court benefited them with the application of the benefit of the doubt, since throughout the process it was not possible to identify the material perpetrator of the sexual abuse.
From the outset, both the 73-year-old woman and her 52-year-old daughter specified that only one of the three hooded men who broke into her home raped the youngest of them.
Meanwhile, the genetic profile of the defendants that was compared with the vaginal swab of the victim did not provide the degree of certainty necessary to accuse any of them.
The judgment also ordered the extraction of copies of the debate regarding the accusations against Ramón Oscar Benítez – brother and uncle of the condemned – and send them to the Investigating Court to continue with the investigation of the lines indicated regarding the participation of the aforementioned in the case, since both parties indicated him as a possible author of the crime.
The ex and the cell phone
The robbery perpetrated against the mother and daughter was recorded on April 9, 2017, around 7:30 p.m., when three hooded men broke into the home located in the rural area of Campo Grande.
Yesterday, in the last round of witnesses, two brothers who on the day of the event were playing ball in a nearby farm declared that that afternoon they saw a dark Corsa with several occupants, of which three got off the road and headed for the bite where the victims reside.
But the most relevant testimony was given by Priscila Cardozo (24), Emiliano Benítez’s former partner, who confirmed that the person involved gave him one of the stolen cell phones. “His father called him on Friday and told him that he had to go to Oberá to collect money. I traveled with him and on Sunday I returned to Posadas, where we lived. I wrote to him and he answered me until 6:30 p.m., and then at 9:30 p.m. he said that he lost the bus and that a friend was going to take him to Posadas. But Sunday did not come. Nor did he answer me more. Showed up Monday afternoon with dad. They were dirty and muddy, ”he said.
In another section, he assured that his ex-partner had a scratch on his neck. He asked him what happened to him and he replied that the Gendarmerie had chased them through the mountains.
Meanwhile, he acknowledged that he knew that his partner was engaged in cigarette smuggling.
“On Tuesday I began to wash the clothes and at that point my father appeared with bills and a newspaper El Territorio. I noticed that the two of them were talking, but when I got closer they changed the subject, “he said.
On the cell phone that ended up implicating his partner, he mentioned that Benítez told him that he bought it from a friend.
In his plea, the plaintiff Lisandro Riotorto detailed the evidence that weighed on the defendants, such as the discovery of the cell phone of one of the victims in the possession of the partner of the minor Benítez.
He also valued the testimony of Priscila Cardozo and that on the day of the event several witnesses saw a Corsa in the vicinity of the crime scene. Then he requested 14 years in prison for the minor of the accused and 16 years for his father, for being a repeat offender.
In turn, the prosecutor Estela Salguero gave an account of the event and marked the brutality of the hooded men who assaulted the victims.
“They were beaten, cut down and tied up. They asked for money and weapons (…) The daughter of the housewife was abused by one of the hooded men. The woman fought to avoid the abuse. Her mother was lying next to her and she could see her daughter being abused. To this day she is traumatized by the fact, ”she said.
As the prosecutor reconstructed, the defendants arrived at the scene with the Corsa owned by Luciano Benítez’s wife, while underlining: “When we arrived at this hearing we did not know the identity of the third hooded man, but now I have no doubt that it was Ramón Oscar Benítez ”.
He described as meticulous the work of the Secretariat of Support for Complex Investigations (Saic) that located the cell phone in the department of Emiliano Benítez in Posadas.
Meanwhile, he considered “childish and not very credible” the defendant’s explanation when he declared that his uncle gave him the stolen weapons at the Mirador del Parque de las Naciones, a place that is always very crowded.
“He pushed them on the way down”
Salguero remarked that the cell phone of the minor Benítez was located in Campo Grande between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on the day of the event, since it was captured by the same antenna that the victims used.
They also made a call to a cell phone scheduled as “Leijo”, the fourth implicated for the prosecutor. He explained that on the day of the incident Luciano Benítez made a call at 4.30 pm and then just after 9 pm “because he turned off the cell phone so that it was not detected by the antennas. He is a person with a background and knows the subject, “he said.
Along these lines, he valued the contribution of the witness Cardozo regarding the scratches presented by Emiliano Benítez.
“The victim had one hand tied to one of his mother’s hands and with the other he defended himself, which left marks on the aggressor,” he said. He then requested sentences of 16 and 14 years in prison.
Meanwhile, the official defender Matías Olivera questioned whether the Benítez were linked to a cell in an antenna in Campo Grande and expressed serious objections to the investigation. “It was not the smartest idea to keep the weapons that his uncle gave him. Not all people are at the same level of reasoning, ”he argued in favor of Emiliano Benítez.
Then he attacked the statement of the witness Cardozo: “That 24 hours after the fact they arrived dirty, muddy and wet does not withstand the slightest analysis (…) It is not serious either that she approached and they changed the subject. Cardozo wanted to get rid of the fact and pushed them down ”.
“From the first time he testified, Emiliano said it was his uncle Ramón. The investigation ordered the arrest of Ramón Benítez, but he is not here. The investigation was never completed. The Judicial Power was not able to find Ramón Benítez ”, fired the defender.
On the other hand, he stressed that “if the perpetrator of the violation was one, two cannot be convicted,” a view that was later endorsed by the Court.
A little credible defense
During the trial, Luciano Benítez -who has already served a 7-year sentence for robbery- insisted on his innocence, said that he had nothing to do with the fact and that his ex-daughter-in-law incriminated him because she does not want him. In addition, he corroborated his son’s version that aims to incriminate his brother Ramón.
Meanwhile, Emiliano Benítez acknowledged that he was engaged in the sale of smuggled cigarettes and indicated that on April 9, 2017 he was at the Parque de las Naciones Viewpoint with a friend with the nickname “Paraguayo”, a circumstance in which his Uncle Ramón to ask him to take him to Campo Grande to collect a debt.
“He was drunk, heavy and came with two friends I don’t know. I don’t know what they were up to. As he insisted, I took him to Campo Grande in my friend’s car and on the way my uncle received a call from a woman. We reached a point on the route and the three of them got off in a sector that I don’t know because it was night. My uncle told me it was going to take about two hours, so I went back to the Mirador ”, he said.
Meanwhile, he added that around 10 p.m. his uncle Ramón appeared again at the Mirador with his two friends to pay for the trip to Campo Grande, but since he had no money, he offered him two weapons and a cell phone. “If it serves you, make your difference,” his uncle said. The young man insisted on implicating his father’s brother, but at the same time his version had arguments without much support, such as not being able to identify the friend who witnessed the entire sequence.