The jury finds the four defendants guilty of the murder of Javier Ardines





The Prosecutor’s Office and the private prosecution request 25 years in prison for the four defendants. The inducer of the crime is a neighbor of Amorebieta-Etxano, who decided to kill Javier Ardines after learning that he had a romantic relationship with his wife.


Trial for the murder of Javier Ardines.  Image: EITB Media

The popular jury has declared guilty of the four men accused of the murder of the councilor of IU de Llanes, Javier Ardines, in August 2018: Pedro Nieva, Jesús Muguruza, Djilali Benatia and Maamar Kelii.

The four women and the five men that make up the popular jury have considered it unanimously proven that the neighbor of Amorebieta-Etxano, Pedro Nieva, decided to end the life of Ardines moved by jealousy upon learning that he had a sentimental relationship with his wife. To do this, he contacted Jesús Muguruza, who acted as an intermediary with the two hitmen who were in charge of killing the mayor.

The jury, which began to deliberate last Monday, has read its conclusions this afternoon at the Oviedo Provincial Court, where the oral hearing was held over eighteen sessions.

The Prosecutor’s Office and the private prosecution request for each of them a penalty of 25 years in prison. The four defendants assure that they are innocent and ask for their free acquittal. Now the Hearing of Oviedo will have to dictate the sentence.

The jury has considered it proven that Pedro Nieva confirmed his suspicions about the relationship of the councilor and his wife, in turn second cousin of Ardines’ wife, by recording a conversation between them in a restaurant in December 2017, after leaving his mobile phone under a napkin while away.

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The “frustration” over the infidelity was a “inflection point” in the behavior of Pedro Nieva, who began to visit web pages about espionage to look for ways to control his wife or to test for paternity.

The messages he exchanged for months with his wife, to which the investigators accessed after dumping the content of his mobile, reflected “grief and resentment” despite the fact that both continued to live together in his house in the Biscayan town of Amorebieta-Etxano, according to the jury.

In July 2018, Pedro Nieva was aware that his wife was going to spend the summer holidays at the family home they had in Belomente de Pría, a few meters from Ardines, “increasing even more his frustration and despair ” and also him “Hatred and resentment” towards the mayor.

According to the jury, Pedro Nieva then contacted his friend Jesús Muguruza, who agreed to mediate with one of the two hitmen to agree on a price.

“In his role as inducer”, Pedro Nieva only communicated with Jesús Muguruza, and in his “role of intermediary”, he did so with Djilali Benatia, who, in turn, did so with his compatriot Maamar Kelii, who also agreed to participate in the plan.

Planning and execution of crime

A few weeks before the murder, the first three they traveled to Belmonte de Pría to reconnoitre the terrain and provide information that will facilitate the execution of the crime, according to the jury, who has made reference to the geolocations of mobile phones and the recognition of the vehicle in the images of various cameras on the highway.

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On the day of the murder, Djilali B. picked up Maamar K. at around three in the morning to travel from the Basque Country to the town of Llanes, where they prepared the ambush according to the established plan.

On the local road near your victim’s home, they placed three construction fences to cut the Ardines pass, who used to leave around six in the morning to go fishing with his boat.

Ardines was forced to get out of the car to remove the fences, at which point the two hitmen came out of hiding to attack him, first with a pepper spray and then hitting his head with an object without edges so forcefully that it caused a skull fracture, to finally strangle him already on the ground, as the jury has concluded.

The jury has also taken up the fact that, a few days before the crime, Pedro Nieva sent the wife and daughter of Ardines recording the conversation between his wife and the councilor with whom he had confirmed his infidelity months before, ignoring the possibility that he could later point to him as a possible culprit.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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