2021 has been a year of significant criminal convictions. They were the cases of the murderers of Javier Ardines, the councilor of Izquierda Unida in Llanes (Asturias), who died after being ambushed when he left his home on the morning of August 16, 2018. The call was also sentenced King of the cachopo, Cesar Román, convicted of killing and dismembering his ex-partner, Heidi Paz, 25, on August 5 of that same year. Reviewable permanent prison was the sentence for Bernardo Montoya, the man accused of kidnapping, raping and killing the young teacher Laura Luelmo, in December 2018 in El Campillo (Huelva). And a popular jury understood that Norbert Feher, better known as Igor The Russian, was guilty of the murder of the rancher José Luis Iranzo and of the two civil guards Víctor Romero and Víctor Jesús Caballero who came to help him in Teruel in December 2017.
But 2021 has also been a year of gruesome crimes for having children or young people as victims. The so-called vicarious violence, the one that parents exercise against their children to harm the mother, kept the whole of Spain in suspense during the weeks of April and May, while the Civil Guard ship Ángeles Alvariño, owned by The Spanish Institute of Oceanography, was searching in the depths of the waters of the Canary Island of Tenerife for the bodies of Anna and Olivia, the two girls of one and six years who were murdered by their father, the businessman Tomás Gimeno, who presumably took his own life by drowning after.
It has been a year of repeat murderers such as Francisco Javier Almeida, the so-called “Lardero murderer” (La Rioja), where he allegedly killed nine-year-old Alex after cajoling him in a park near his home on October 28. Almeida had been on probation since April 8, 2020. In 1993, he was jailed to serve a seven-year sentence for sexual assault. Four years later, in May 1997, he was released from prison. However, that freedom would last him only 15 months. At the end of August 1998 he was arrested and imprisoned again. On this occasion, for raping and murdering a real estate agent, whom he cruelly stabbed 17 times before killing her while showing her an apartment in Logroño in which Almeida pretended to be interested. The case called into question the degree of social reinsertion of some criminals. Just a month before the Lardero crime, Dr. Noelia Demingo, who in 2003 killed three colleagues at the Jiménez Díaz Foundation in Madrid after suffering a schizophrenic outbreak, stabbed a cashier at a supermarket in El Molar (Madrid).
But violence among young people has been a constant throughout 2021. Frequent fatal attacks, almost always with knives, among the so-called “Latin gangs”, ended lives like Isaac’s in Madrid, a boy of 18 years, four boys stabbed four times in a dark tunnel on July 14 for having contact with young people from a rival gang. But there were also brutal attacks such as that of Samuel Luiz (24 years old) in A Coruña, a gay boy who died from the blows and kicks inflicted by a mob of young people outside a nightclub at dawn on July 3. A murder with countless witnesses and classified socially – although not by the police – as homophobic, which raised the entire LGTBI collective with demonstrations throughout Spain. Samuel’s crime once again brought to the fore the gratuitousness of youth violence in a context of drugs and alcohol unleashed by petty misunderstandings. This case also showed the ferreros human values of those who have suffered the most, as was the case of Ibrahima and Magatte, the two Senegalese immigrants who tried to defend Samuel from the deadly aggression, enduring blows from the aggressors.
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The point-blank murder of the 37-year-old Moroccan Younnes Bilal in Mazarrón (Murcia) on June 13 alerted the entire Muslim community in Spain, calling the crime “racist.” Shouting “shitty moro”, Carlos Patricio BM, a 52-year-old ex-military from Madrid, fired three shots at him with a pistol that he had previously gone looking for at his home. The initial tepidity of the local politicians contrasted with the manifestations of rejection promoted by the many Muslims that populate that Spanish agricultural region and supported by a good part of civil society. And the xenophobic discourses of Vox, a party that has burst into that community with force, were called into question for arousing hatred between cultures and customs that have lived together for decades.
Finally, the police reactivated historical investigations, such as the murder of Miriam, Toñi and Desirée, the girls of Alcàsser (1992), with the inclusion of their alleged murderer, Antonio Andamientos, in the lists of most wanted criminals in Europe. The case will prescribe in December 2029.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.