The killers of La Rioja Radical deputy Héctor Olivares and his advisor Miguel Yadón outside Congress on May 9, 2019, were convicted and sentenced on Monday, with the duo given tough jail terms.
Juan José Navarro Cádiz was sentenced to 45 years behind bars, with Juan Jesús Fernández given life imprisonment. The sentences were as requested by prosecutor Ariel Yapur and based on charges of homicide aggravated by being repeated and the unauthorised possession of firearms.
The full grounds of the sentences will be given on October 4.
In his final plea Navarro Cádiz again apologised to the families of both victims, assuring them: “I never wanted to hurt anybody and it never crossed my mind to kill anybody. I ask the families to please forgive me.”
Fernández told judges Ana Dieta de Herrero, Fernando Ramírez and Luis Salas: “It’s unfair that just because I was out driving that night, you want to give me a life sentence,” denying that he had any idea that Navarro Cádiz was armed or had any intention of shooting at passers-by.
“I’m a family man, I love my wife and children, I’ve worked all my life and never had any problems with anybody. I had nothing to do with any of the events that night. I feel pained by the grief of my own family and those of Olivares and Yadón. I’ll fight for my innocence until my last breath,” Fernández told the judges.
The trial began in August last year. Olivares and Yadón were gunned down at 6.50am on May 9, 2019, while taking their customary early morning stroll around Congress. Shots were fired from a Volkswagen Vento parked behind a bus.
Hit three times, Yadón was killed instantly while Olivares was fatally wounded in the abdomen, with the 61-year-old losing his life three days later.
Olivares, a member of the pro-government Radical Civic Union party, represented La Rioja province in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of congress. Yadón, 58, had previously worked for La Rioja's federal electric transportation system.
Yapur explained the difference in the sentences by recalling that Navarro Cádiz had been arrested in Uruguay and extradited across the River Plate under certain conditions of the extradition treaty between the two countries, making a life sentence impossible since this exceeded the maximum punishment under Uruguayan law. That is why he had requested a prison sentence of 45 years as the next best thing.
While delivering their verdict, the judges rejected various requests by the defence lawyers to quash the trial or have it declared unconstitutional.