Jun 20, 2008

Man sentenced in Juarez femicides denies he killed anyone

Copyright (C) 2007, 2008

By Kelly McKenzie
June 20, 2008

CIUDAD JUAREZ - A Mexican judge sentenced Edgar Alvarez Cruz to 26 years in prison for allegedly murdering women in Juarez, Mexico.
Judge Flor Mireya Aguilar, who previously revoked the charges against Alvarez for lack of evidence, reversed herself today and found him guilty.
The same judge has presided over previous femicide cases with controversial findings and rulings.
A friend of Alvarez, whose relatives conceded he was mentally unstable, accused Alvarez and a third friend of theirs of committing serial murders.
Alvarez has repeatedly denied the allegations, and witnesses testified he could not have the committed the slayings attributed to him because he was in Colorado at the time.
Chihuahua state authorities have a history of using scapegoats to solve the women's murders, and supporters of Alvarez, including criminologist Oscar Maynez, contend there was no evidence linking the Juarez man to the crimes.
George Gonzalez, a crime investigator, said the U.S. embassy in Mexico had a role in this latest episode of the notorious Juarez deaths.
"Nothing seems to change," he said. "It's the same old corruption, only this time the U.S. embassy in Mexico, which pressured the Mexican authorities to develop a conviction from the tip it provided, may be to blame for an innocent man's incarceration. Everyone knows the real killers are still out there. The killers know who they are and must be laughing.
"This is the biggest irony. You've got cops that might be crooked seeking U.S. asylum and medical treatment in New Mexico and Texas. The Mexican authorities brought out the army to calm the drug violence perpetrated by drug dealers and their corrupt accomplices. Criminals like (former Juarez police chief) Saulo Reyes are getting the red carpet treatment, even if he is in jail, while families of the femicide victims get brushed aside.
"Nobody called up the army for the girls, nor was any of them ever sent to El Paso, Texas, for treatment. I sort of expected the case against Alvarez Cruz would resurface during this chaotic time at the border, and there it is."
Gonzalez said he's also heard a Juarez drug dealer who is wanted by U.S. authorities has threatened to kill everyone in Guadalupe Distrito Bravos if his relatives are not released from custody.
The drug dealer in question has been accused of killing women, but the Chihuahua authorities have not made an effort to arrest him, Gonzalez said.