San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Press Lawyer Files Murder Accusation

MANAGUA – The prosecuting lawyerrepresenting the family of slainNicaraguan journalist María José Bravo onMonday filed first-degree murder chargesagainst a former small-town mayordetained last week as the primary suspectin the Nov. 9 murder, according to LaPrensa, one of the daily newspapers Bravoworked for.Mario Orozco, the La Prensa lawyerrepresenting Bravo’s family, claims he hassufficient evidence and witnesses to provethe guilt of Eugenio Hernández, formerLiberal Constitutional Party mayor of ElAyote, Chontales.Police detained Hernández shortlyafter Bravo was killed. The 26-year-oldjournalist, mother of a 3-year-old girl, wascovering the hotly contested municipalvote recount in neighboring Juigalpa,where she was shot at close range as sheexited the regional electoral office at 6:30p.m. (TT, Nov. 12).HERNÁNDEZ reportedly told policethe gun had fired accidentally when it felland hit the ground – a claim police rejectedwhen they determined that model ofpistol could not fire accidentally just bybeing dropped.Orozco is reported as saying he thinkspolice are concealing information aboutthe murder, and is blasting the state’sinvestigative report for referring to themurder as second-degree, as opposed topremeditated.First-degree murder, or “assassination”as it is referred to in Nicaragua, carries aprison term of 15-30 years, while second-degreemurder, or manslaughter, carries asentence of six-14 years.According to an investigative report byLa Prensa, suspect Eugenio Hernández andhis brother José Luis Hernández allegedlyhave been terrorizing the rural municipalityof El Ayote for years, running the townin a mafia-like fashion.THE brothers also reportedly have arecord of violence.Four years ago, José Luis Hernándezwas voted in as mayor of El Ayote (replacinghis brother) after his rival candidatewas gunned down in broad daylight byEugenio’s chauffer.More recently, police confiscated anillegal Uzi assault rifle from the home ofJosé Luis.La Prensa said Bravo had receivedseveral death threats prior to her murder,but has not yet published why she hadbeen receiving the threats.

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