The panel of three judges hearing the Fernando Báez Sosa murder trial will hand down their verdict on February 6, the court has announced. The prosecution has asked for all eight defendants to face life sentences, while the defense is calling for acquittal.
The pleas were heard on Wednesday and Thursday this week at Dolores Court 1 in Buenos Aires province. The prosecutors and Fernando Burlando, the Baez Sosa family’s attorney, asked the Court to condemn the eight young rugby players to life in prison for “premeditated murder with malice aforethought”.
According to Burlando, there was “a will to kill” and “all eight of them killed Fernando Baez Sosa” that night of January 18, 2020, outside Le Brique nightclub in the coastal resort city of Villa Gesell.
Following his exposition yesterday afternoon, defense lawyer Hugo Tomei plans to argue that the killing was not planned, and has asked for acquittal. He said the eight accused have been “condemned by public opinion,” but there has been no substantial evidence of their guilt or premeditation at trial.
Points being considered by the judges include whether security camera footage showing defendants pointing at Báez Sosa and drawing their fingers across their throats constitutes evidence of premeditation, or a gesture of rage following an altercation in the club.
Tomei requested that the judges either acquit or condemn the rugby players for the lesser charge of homicide in a fight, with six years in prison.
A verdict will be known on February 6, over three years after Fernando Baez Sosa’s murder.
Over 80 witnesses spoke before the judges during th e trial, which started on January 2. According to witnesses, the attackers – Máximo Thomsen, Enzo Comelli, Matías Benicelli, Blas Cinalli, Ayrton Viollaz, Luciano Pertossi, Ciro Pertossi and Lucas Pertossi – shouted racist slurs during the attack, and they also talked enthusiastically about it in the hours afterward.
The defendants’ closing words
Before the hearing was adjourned after the pleas, the eight defendants spoke to the judges. “I want to apologize to the family and everyone who was affected, I’m really hurt because he was a kid our age,” said Máximo Thomsen in tears. “I wish we could turn back time.”
Lucas Pertossi added that “I never wanted to take part in a fight where someone died, I apologized for all the bad things.” All of them said that they were sorry for what had happened.
After hearing their apologies, Fernando’s mother, Graciela Sosa, stated that it was too late for them to apologize. “Fernando is the only victim here. They killed him in the worst way possible, kicking him, while he was begging for them to stop,” she said before the cameras.