Costa Rican preliminary court misplaces key evidence in Jairo Mora murder trial

December 4, 2014
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Update, 4:40 p.m. Dec. 4, 2014: After an evaluation, the court medical examiner determined that all seven of the defendants were fit for trial.

Update, 1 p.m. Dec. 4, 2014: The missing evidence has been located, according to a letter pre-trial Judge Reynaldo Araya Ucañán sent on Thursday to the criminal court hearing the Jairo Mora case. According to Araya, the court had backed up the evidence, which includes recorded telephone conversations of the defendants allegedly discussing the crime, on a computer hard drive. The judge promised to copy the files to discs and present them to the court. The mixup delayed the criminal trial for at least a half-day.

Meanwhile, defense attorney Jadiel Quesada told The Tico Times on Thursday that all seven defendants are sick and need to go to the hospital, which would delay the trial again. As of this writing, a court medical examiner is reviewing the illness request. We’ll keep you posted.

Original story begins here:

A master disc containing alleged recordings of telephone conversations between defendants and other key evidence in the murder case of Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora has gone missing, several sources close to the case confirmed to The Tico Times on Wednesday.

Trial judges on Wednesday ordered a separate, preliminary court – which is responsible for misplacing the evidence – to locate and deliver it by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday or face a judicial investigation.

“There is no suspicion of robbery or foul play,” defense attorney Jadiel Quesada told The Tico Times. “It’s just disorder. There is disorder and contradictions.”

Jairo Mora, 26, was killed last year while patrolling  Moín Beach in the central Caribbean for nesting sea turtles. Seven suspected poachers currently are on trial in Limón on charges that include kidnapping and homicide, among others. Prosecutors allege that the defendants killed Mora out of revenge for having protected turtle eggs.

The disc allegedly contains recorded phone conversations between the murder suspects in which they discuss the crime. Quesada confirmed that the evidence has not yet been heard by the criminal court’s three judges. The recordings are among the final evidence yet to be presented before judges reach a verdict in the high-profile case that has drawn international attention. With the case winding to a close, a verdict is expected as early as Monday.

This story is developing. Follow www.ticotimes.net for updates.

Read all of our coverage on the Jairo Mora case here. 

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