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Convicted murderer set free Print E-mail
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Friday, 05 October 2018 00:00

After serving 26 years in jail for a murder conviction, 60 year-old Salvadoran Nicolas Guevara has been released from prison by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has ruled that he has served out his punishment for the 1993 murder of 36 year-old Marcus Antonio Tzul.

That crime happened on the night of November 4, 1992. Tzul, who was the manager of Gold Button Ranch, was in the company of a female co-worker, and they had just used her car to take a trip to Orange Walk Town. They arrived back at the ranch, which is located in the Orange Walk District.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get through the gate, because as soon as Tzul got out to open it, he was confronted by 3 men armed with rifles with bayonets. The female employee testified in Guevara’s original trial of 1993 that she heard 4 shots, and she saw Tzul fall to the ground. The assailants then took her hostage, and drove her car to an area near the Mexican border. Once there, the attackers took turns raping her. After that assault, they stole her jewelry, took the car keys, and left.

In that same trial Guevara testified and admitted to the court that he was at the scene when the incident occurred, but he denied any involvement in the killing of Tzul. He also corroborated the female employee’s sexual assault, but once again, he denied any involvement in the act.

He was convicted and sentenced to death. He spent almost 7 years on death row until his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. The need for a new sentence came about due to the November 2016 ruling of the Court of Appeal in the appeal of Gregory August. Readers will remember that August successfully convinced the Court of Appeal to scrap mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for persons who are convicted of murder.

On Thursday, September 27th, 2018, Chief Justice presided over a hearing where this new sentence was to be passed, and he heard submissions from Guevara’s attorney, Illiana Swift and Crown Counsel Sherigne Rodriguez as to what that new sentence should be. He also listened to 2 impact statements which were read to him by Crown Counsel Rodriguez.

On Tuesday, October 2, Chief Justice Benjamin returned after consideration of the two sides, and he ruled that Guevara’s new sentence should be 25 years in jail. Since he has already served 26 years, that meant that he had already served his time. So, he was released from custody. He has gone from being convicted, to death to life imprisonment, and now to freedom.