SPAIN. La Rioja. Lardero: A repeat offender murdered a 9-year-old boy in Lardero on Halloween. Apparently, he chose the victim thinking that he was a girl. The suspect is already in provisional prison without bail. He has invoked his right not to testify.
As reported by Spanish media, the Spanish national Francisco Javier Almeida López de Castro (also known by “FJAL de C”), 54, was paroled last year after serving a sentence for sexual assault and murder. 18 months later Almeida has killed again.
The Civil Guard arrested him last night in Lardero for the murder of a nine-year-old boy whom he had taken from a park shortly before. Some said it was done “by deception,” but the family argues that this contradicts “how Alex was in life,” as the young kid was a very bright boy who would not have followed a stranger no matter what.
Lardero declared three days of official mourning for the murder of the 9-year-old boy
ABOUT THE SUSPECT
The arrested man is said to have committed a first sexual assault in 1993 on a real estate employee for which he was sentenced to 7 years, of which he served 4. In 1998, he was sentenced for sexual assault and murder for which he was sentenced to 25 years, of which he served 22 as he was released “on probation.”
WHAT THE AUTHORITIES SAY
Marlaska, a Spanish judge appointed Minister of the Interior in June 2018 by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, said on Álex’s crime in Lardero: “The institutions have acted in accordance with the principle of legality.”
However, the Minister couldn’t answer whether the police knew the whereabouts of the man who was on probation, and also tried to evade the media questions regarding the third degree granted to Almeida by Penitentiary Institutions against the report of the Dueso prison.
The Delegation of the Government of La Rioja reported that at 8:25 p.m. last Thursday, a call was received from the child’s mother at SOS Rioja 112 warning of the disappearance of a minor in Lardero, and a few minutes later, a Civil Guard patrol gave notice to call an ambulance.
According to the Riojan newspaper, Alex dressed up for Halloween as the girl from the movie The Exorcist. Celebrating Halloween with his family in the area, he went out to play in the park with his younger brother next to the Villa Patro school. The area was closely monitored by a group of parents as the community was already alert for a possible perpetrator in the zone.
Around 8:25 p.m., an 11-year-old girl who had been playing with the young children sounded the alarm by yelling “Alex is missing, Alex is missing!” She immediately warned her parents, who were looking at the children in the park and pointed to the portal “where the man who had taken Alex was.”
While the boy’s mother called 112, several parents ran to the indicated place, knocking door to door. On the third floor, they found the alleged assailant with the doors open and the child in his arms. The boy was unconscious and was struggling to breathe. They claim that the shocked defendant told them that “the child had fainted and he had found him there.” By their words, “he seemed perfectly unmoved as a stone.“
They tried to revive Alex as they went down the elevator, and from there an agent from the Civil Guard and the Municipal Police took over as they had just arrived at the scene. Another agent is said to have climbed the stairs to make sure the suspect did not escape in the meantime.
The health services were only able to certify Alex’s death shortly after.
EXISTING PRE-INDICATIONS OF THE CRIME
Eyewitnesses explained to journalists that there was “concern” in the area about the regular presence of this man who was released from prison after serving his sentence for the murder of a real estate agent. They added that ot was evident to the small community that he was “not reintegrating,” he was engaged in “harassing girls.”
A few parents added that Almeida also invited girls as young as seven to accompany him to his house to “feed some colored birds.” People remember with emotion that just two weeks ago the now accused of infanticide harassed the same girl who pointed out the portal, and that “the police didn’t do much about it.”
One couple said that he initiated contact with them, pretending that he would help the woman get a job, and that “he seemed like a very educated and nice person.” This same couple was terrified at the idea of what might have happened if the woman had acceded to his invitations to visit him at his flat.
THE DEVASTATED COMMUNITY
During the detention, some 200 people gathered, and the agents were reproached for protecting the detainee. People were shouting that he has to be “lynched.”
Several of these neighbors assured the agents that they had already warned that the detainee had tried on other occasions to abduct children from the area. In fact, as mentioned above, there was an investigation into a girl that he allegedly had invited two weeks before that day. The girl alerted that he had tried to bring her to his house with a similar modus operandi.
“You called us crazy and only two of you came and now a child has had to die for you all to come to protect the murderer,” a neighbor told the agents.
THE DEVASTATED FAMILY
Alex’s family is completely devastated. None of them know exactly how the events that ended the boy’s life occurred. They also question some of the versions that have been disseminated. “He was not a trusting kid,” said his great-uncle, “and we don’t think the killer tricked him into going to see a puppy.”
POLITIZED HUMAN TRAGEDY
As largely discussed by Spanish media, in 2015 “the left and its separatist allies” appealed to the Constitutional Court the reviewable permanent prison. The appellants affirmed that the permanent prison violates four articles of the Constitution. Were they thinking of the prisoners, of society, of both or neither?
On October 26, the Constitutional Court rejected the appeal. Despite this, this Thursday the PNV registered two questions to the government to demand its repeal. They were presented the same day that the murderer, the system liberated into society, took Alex’s life and damaged that of his parents, relatives, classmates, close ones, community, the town, the country.
Protecting the ciminal offender rights, the state did not protect the right of citizens to be informed of the underlying and imminent risks presented in their community because of one-sided decissions.
The family of the boy stated that “Alex’s murder could have been prevented” should the police forces have acted more forcefully after the previous complaint against a man who three days before and on that same street tried to convince a girl to go to his home.
Also, what were the police expecting? That someone who had spent so many years in prison would be happy to adapt to a life under the coronavirus, suffering dismissal and struggling to pay for food and rent? What if he killed the boy to go back to jail and make sure someone else took care of his basic needs?
The chain of apparent errors, loopholes, and subsequent lack of control in the system is impressive. In addition to failing to serve the full sentence after raping and murdering a young woman in the most cruel way, the detanee enjoyed 39 prison permits from 2013 to 2020. In each of those permits, he could have taken another life or even escaped to become a serial assassin.
As long as political propaganda believes more in the reintegration of prisoners than in protecting society from criminals and punishing them for their crimes, Spain will indefinitely keep the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes, including terrorism, in its streets instead of in jail.