Lucio Dupuy trial: Mother and her partner found guilty of child’s killing

The five-year-old was murdered in November 2021

In a unanimous vote, three La Pampa judges found Magdalena Espósito Valenti, 25, and Abigail Pérez guilty of the murder of Lucio Dupuy, a five-year-old boy from Santa Rosa. The sentences will be announced on February 13. 

Espósito Valenti, his mother, was charged with homicide, with the three aggravating circumstances of being his mother, cruelty, and malice aforethought. Paez was charged with the same crime, and also for sexually abusing the boy. Valenti was acquitted of the sexual abuse charges, by benefit of the doubt. Both requested not to be present at the reading. 

“There’s nothing to celebrate,” said Ramón Dupuy, Lucio’s grandfather, in an interview after the verdict. “It doesn’t bring Lucio back, we need to fight for children’s rights.” 

The trial concluded after 18 days of hearings, in which dozens of witnesses testified that the abuses against Lucio had continued over a long period. The couple’s neighbors said they heard the pair plotting to hurt him, while mothers of Lucio’s friends stated that he was not fed nor taken care of. 

According to Judges Alejandra Ongaro, Andrés Olié and Daniel Sáez Zamora, the violence that ended Lucio’s life increased over the months before his murder. They referred to chats between the couple back in October 2021, when “it showed the irritation that the boy was causing them, which [according to them] risked damaging their relationship”. On October 18, Espósito messaged Páez saying that she wouldn’t allow Lucio to challenge the “flow of their relationship”.

They both killed him on the evening of November 26, 2021.  An autopsy found that Lucio died of an internal haemorrhage caused by a beating. Additionally, his body showed burns and bites.

“They criticize me, but not Lucio’s father,” said Espósito Valenti during her final statements in court. Pérez apologized to her family, and said that she had gaps in her memory and was highly traumatized by the events. 

Lucio’s father, Cristian Dupuy, declared yesterday that the verdict would be a moment to “let go” of what happened. Espósito Valenti and Dupuy, who were already separated, started a dispute over Lucas’s custody in 2020. The boy had been living under the guardianship of his aunt and uncle because his parents could not afford to support him, and Dupuy wished for him to remain with them. But Espósito Valenti and Páez were granted custody of him in November of that year. 

Based on the crimes they were charged with, it is expected that both women will receive life imprisonment. 

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