San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. Citizen Robbed, Killed in Esparza

A U.S. citizen was killed last week when he resisted a robbery in his hometown of Esparza, a Pacific slope town west of San José, according to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ).

John Daniels Cornwell, 60, was walking home from a local bar before 10 p.m. on Sept. 24 when he was allegedly stabbed three times by suspect Luis Briceño, who reportedly wanted his wallet.

Cornwell was rushed to the local hospital and died there. A man and woman who were at the crime scene were also detained in connection to the murder but were both soon released, according to the case’s prosecutor.

Briceño, 25, is accused of murder and will wait for his trail in preventive detention for three months. He has been detained before for robbery.

According to local news media reports, Cornwell, a retired Marine, had lived in his home in Esparza for five years and worked as an electrician. He is survived by his wife and two young daughters.

Cornwell’s friend, Robert Cringan, was quoted in the daily La Nación defending Corwell’s peaceful nature. “He smiled at the whole world. He never hurt anyone,” Cringan said.

Another U.S. citizen, Thomas Hendrix, was found dead in his apartment in Barrio Escalante in east San José in early September. Police were still investigating this week.


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