Former public defender Burgos commits suicide in cell

October 3, 2008

Luis Fernando Burgos, a former public defender, committed suicide yesterday in his cell at Costa Rica´s La Reforma prison in Alajuela, northeast of San José, where he was serving 35 years for the 2006 murder of his wife.

Burgos was convicted in late September 2007 in the strangulation of his wife, Maureen Hidalgo, a judicial assistant, in what was arguably the trial of the year.

The period for appeal of Burgos´ sentence expired three weeks ago.

Although no physical evidence was ever found to connect Burgos to the murder, various witnesses came forward with stories that Burgos had told them he had committed the murder in the days following his wife´s disappearance, and two men testified that Burgos asked them to help him remove Hidalgo´s body from the apartment. Also, Chief Prosecutor Francisco Dall´Anese received an anonymous tip, later revealed to be from Judge Elizabeth Tossi, that Burgos had committed the murder.

Most damning, one of the prosecution´s chief witnesses, Zulay Rojas, a former state prosecutor and ex-girlfriend of Burgos, said Burgos killed Hidalgo at their Zapote apartment in southeastern San José on the morning of July 11, 2006, and then came to Rojas´ house and discussed the murder.

Rojas waited nine days to come forward with information about Burgos´ visit and was charged with withholding information in a homicide, for which she received two years in prison.

Burgos had accused Hidalgo of infidelity. The murder came within a week before the couple´s one-year wedding anniversary.

In addition to his sentence, Burgos was ordered to pay $350,000 in damages to his wife´s family.

The ruling was widely regarded as a significant legal decision in favor of women´s rights in a country where the vast majority of domestic violence cases are never prosecuted.

You may be interested

Download our High Season Print Edition here
The Tico Times
640 views
The Tico Times
640 views

Download our High Season Print Edition here

The Tico Times - December 17, 2017

Thanks to all the readers from around Costa Rica and the world who have written to ask how they can…

PHOTOS: Costa Rica’s Festival of Light
Holidays
2417 views
Holidays
2417 views

PHOTOS: Costa Rica’s Festival of Light

AFP - December 17, 2017

Costa Rica's traditional Festival de la Luz, a holiday parade through the heart of San José, filled the capital with…

Give green in Costa Rica: holiday gifts that will live on all year
Environment and Wildlife
1188 views
Environment and Wildlife
1188 views

Give green in Costa Rica: holiday gifts that will live on all year

Ed Bernhardt - December 16, 2017

A warm holiday greeting from the garden to all our readers. Another year has come to an end, and it’s…