Source: Blog Expediente Mx
Author: Ignacio Carjaval
July 1, 2016 (Original publication in Spanish on May 9, 2016)
Translated by: J.B.
“I don’t want my son to die in prison”
A mother will spend another May 10 crying over the absence of her son allegedly framed by the Veracruz authorities.
Yarold Christian Leyte Quintanar has been singled out as having murdered a woman and sent to the Tuxpan prison by then prosecutor, Amadeo Flores Espinosa, today state leader for the PRI.
He has already spent four years in the prison of Tuxpan, and while the Canadian Association for Rights and Truth is interceding for him, the judicial power of the state has ignored the evidence exonerating him.
He confessed to the crime after 10 hours of torture applied to him by elements of the AVI; the appeal of the 32-year sentence is now in the hands of Amadeo Flores Espinosa’s son, Judge Amadeo Flores Villalba.
Four years ago, Yarold Christian Leyte Quintanar was arrested and charged with the killing of María Teresa Gónzalez Gonzalez, whose body was found in an abandoned house in front of the residence of Leyte Quintanar, who is currently serving a 32-year sentence in the prison of Tuxpan in Veracruz.
But the family and the Canadian Association for Rights and Truth (CART) argue that Leyte Quintanar’s arrest was made without any warrant or charges. Rosalinda Quintanar, his mother, says that they obtained the confession after 10 hours of torture in a dungeon of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office of Veracruz, by then elements of the now defunct Agencia Veracruzana de Investigaciones (Veracruz Agency of Investigations) or AVI, today the Ministerial Police, under the command of Amadeo Flores Espinoza, current president of the State Committee of the Partido de la Revolución Institucional (Institutional Revolution Party) or PRI, key element in the gubernatorial election campaign of Héctor Yunes Landa.
“We have presented strong evidence that prove that my son had nothing to do with the killing, documents that have even been produced by staff of the Prosecutor’s Office containing evidence exonerating him, but the authorities have ignored everything; on the other hand, the investigation against him does not have any evidence, it is only based on the confession extracted from him through physical and psychological torture,” said Rosalinda Quintanar in a phone interview with www.blogexpediente.com.mx
The family of María Teresa Gónzalez Gonzalez, a collection agent for the Compartamos Banco, reported her disappearance on February 28, 2012. The last thing that they knew about her was of her visit to various debtors in the Valle Alto subdivision, located 20 minutes from the airport of the city of Veracruz. Her corpse was found on March 2 inside an abandoned house at 232 Flamingo Street in Valle Alto.
According to the investigation file, on March 14 the AVI received a lead about the murderer through an anonymous caller. The alleged murderer lived in front of the abandoned house where they had found the body of the collection agent for Compartamos. Officers knocked on the door, and Leyte Quintanar started to run. When he was arrested, he admitted to having killed the woman. He had in his possession her cell phone; in addition, the police found belongings of the deceased in his house.
In his confession, according to the report from the AVI, the detainee acknowledged having taken the victim’s debit card to make purchases and payments the day after the crime.
According to the file, Yarold Leyte confessed to having killed the woman because she asked him to pay a 30,700-peso debt. That day she arrived at his house to collect the debt, argued in public, and to avoid disturbing the neighbours, he asked her to come inside the house, where they would talk about the method of payment.
However, once inside the house they continued fighting; it was then he used a headlock to knock her out. They fell to the ground, she kicked a table with a glass pedestal, which broke, and glass pieces became embedded in both. Finally, she suffocated to death and a pool of blood of about 12 centimetres was left on Leyte Quintanar’s floor. He said the same during the reconstruction of the facts.
Yarold Leyte Quintanar, instead of calling an ambulance, remained seated for five hours, waiting for the early hours of the morning to throw the corpse of the deceased in the abandoned house adjacent to his residence. He later went over her things, kept a USB memory stick, makeup, money and cards that he subsequently used to purchase various items. There ends the official version.
However, the mother of the accused says that her son was blindfolded and had his hands and feet tied. He was given electric shock in the testicles and nipples. A beating that lasted more than five hours. Only after that they asked him why he had killed the collection agent.
Yarold Christian Leyte Quintanar only knew about the subject through the news. The police insisted. They created the story that he was on her list of debtors at Compartamos Banco, and that he owed more than 30 thousand pesos.
Five more hours of beatings until they brought in his wife, within his sight. He saw when they took her to the same dungeon of the Regional Prosecutor’s office of the port of Veracruz. He also recognized her cries and pleas for mercy during the beating used by elements of the AVI to break him.
The most difficult moment was when an agent of the AVI put a pistol to his eye. “Confess or your wife is going to $#%@$% get it and your children too,” he threatened.
Yarold Christian Leyte Quintanar confessed and has been in the prison of Tuxpan since March 2012. The opinion and the investigation were handed to whom was then the prosecutor, Amadeo Flores Espinosa. The 32-year sentence against Leyte Quintanar was delivered in January 2016, and the appeal of the same, filed by his defense, will be decided by Judge Amadeo Flores Villalba, ironically, the son of Amadeo Flores and former secretary of the Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa.
Rosalinda Quintanar sees the years go by without knowing what justice is. In the investigation carried out by the AVI, found in case 55/2012-VII before the Court of First Instance of Veracruz, the authorities determined that María Teresa González González died suffocated in the house of Leyte Quintanar.
“I got a private expert that found a number of inconsistencies and ruled out my son’s involvement. Also, an expert at the attorney’s office, in his opinion, determined that there were major inconsistencies in the confession, the reconstruction of the facts, and the study of the crime scene according to forensic science,” said his mother, who refers to the opinion drafted by the criminalist expert Andrés Sánchez Castillo dated March 15, 2012, two days after Leyte Quintanar was arrested, which Blogexpediente has copy of, and which textually reads:
- “There was no correspondence regarding the wound that was caused to Maria Teresa González González, which according to the suspect was caused by a broken glass, part of the wooden table that was inside his home, since the wound found on the female body was produced by a sharp weapon, was deep and measured 25 cm. In addition, the weapon injured, cut vital organs, and exposed organs.”
- “There was no correspondence regarding the facts told by the suspect since he expresses to have committed the acts inside his home and moved the body of the now deceased (…) he says that, after the dispute and the struggle, both fell to the floor, the now deceased injured herself, remained on the floor for more than four hours and only left a blood trace of 10 to 20 centimetres in diameter. This version is being ruled out since at the site where the corpse was discovered (the abandoned house) a large pool of blood covering two meters and a half in length was found, the body presenting the wound and injury referred to above, having been established that the place of the finding corresponds to the place of the events,” which clearly contrasts with the confession.
Another piece of evidence that uncovers the show set up by Amadeo Flores’ boys, was reflected in the questioning of Paul Hernández Durán, office manager at the Banco Compartamos, on April 16, carried out within the proceedings of the case, who expressed that “Yarold Christian Leyte Quintanar had no debt with the institution and, therefore, María Teresa González González was not assigned to collect any debt from him.”
“In case of a debt, what would the amount be?” they asked him.
“It’s not the case, since Yarold Christian Leyte Quintanar has no debt with the institution,” he answered.
The file also mentions that the deceased, months ago, had been threatened; a line of investigation disregarded by the authorities.
Among the evidence in favour of the accused, it is noted the absence of the call history of the victim’s cell phone, the videos from the surveillance cameras of the shops where supposedly the aggressor used her card to pay for various items, as well as the signed vouchers or tickets backing the allegations of the AVI staff and the alleged confession, i.e., there is no documentary evidence.
Nor is there any information in the file about the search for blood on the floor of the house of the accused, although in his confession, he says to have washed the floor and thrown the glass of the broken table in the garbage. Reports about the weapon with which he stabbed her are also lacking.
The sentence was delivered last January, but before his mother could see him in the prison of Tuxpan, four years ago, she had to wait for a month, and that, thanks to the efforts by human rights organizations. Government instances also failed to respond to the requests for the application of Istanbul Protocol to confirm abuse.
The case of Leyte Quintanar is one of the cases that the “Canadian Association for Rights and Truth (CART),” an NGO specialized in “manufactured guilty convictions,” defends in Mexico.
“Despite the numerous inconsistencies and irregularities in the criminal investigation, Yarold has been deprived of his freedom for about 4 years, charged with the murder of María Teresa González González, based solely on a confession obtained under torture, since there is no physical evidence of Yarold’s responsibility,” reads the file prepared by the CART.
In August 2015, the CART submitted an “amicus curiae” brief in favour of Leyte Quintanar to the First Judge of First Instance of the District Court of Tuxpan, Luis Alberto Cobos Hernández, where they documented each of the violations of due process and inconsistencies in the investigation prepared by the staff of the AVI, especially the request not to take into account the confession obtained through hours of torture, which have left sequalae on his body and personality; however, the document was ignored.
“If the government’s latest bill on torture, currently being drafted, is to change that, torturers must finally be punished. Otherwise, it will be just another paper promise for the thousands of people who suffer torture in Mexico,” says the latest report on torture of Amnesty International, which estimates that 64% “of Mexicans say they don’t feel safe from torture.” The same document states: “Police and soldiers rape, beat, suffocate and electrocute men and women as a way to get supposed ‘confessions’.”
Since 2015, Veracruz has been in the crosshairs of the Human Rights National Commission concerning cases of enforced disappearance, which have begun to be documented with the full participation of local authorities under the government of Javier Duarte de Ochoa. In that year, the NGO Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez confirmed the torture and sexual abuse of Claudia Medina Tamariz, who was detained by the Navy and forced to incriminate herself as a member of an organized crime cartel, and was later exonerated, demonstrating the practices employed by SEMAR (Naval Secretariat) in the Veracruz Seguro operation, set up by the Duarte government given the police’s failure to fight organized crime.
Should the innocence of Leyte Quintanar be proven, María Teresa González González’s file would be an addition to Veracruz’s statistics on impunity, one of the highest in crimes committed against women, from sexual assaults to homicides, says Aracely Gonzales Saavedra, President of Equifonia AC, committed to the defence of women’s rights. She says that between 2012 and August 2015, 161 femicides were reported, of which 55% are still under investigation, and although the investigation was concluded in the other cases, there were only seven successful convictions, which speaks of the urgency to take steps to prevent further violence against women and ensure their access to justice.