Why Nicolás Pachelo was sentenced to life for the murder of María Marta García Belsunce | Almost 22 years later

In a shocking and devastating ruling, the Buenos Aires Court of Cassation this Wednesday sentenced the resident of the country El Carmel, Nicolás Pachelo, to life imprisonment for the murder of María Marta García Belsunce. Pachelo has been in prison for years for more than 20 robberies in different houses in different countries or in the homes of his friends, but he had been acquitted in the oral trial “for the benefit of the doubt” regarding the murder of the sociologist, wife of Carlos Carrascosa. In the same trial, Pachelo was sentenced to 9 years in prison for robberies that were added to other previous robberies for which he had also been convicted. After the appeal, the Cassation – with the signature of Fernando Mancini and Florencia Budiño – declared that Pachelo entered the Carmel house to steal, that María Marta surprised him and, since she knew him and had already reported him, The neighbor killed her with six shots, five that entered the skull and one that ricocheted and is known as the famous “pituto.”

The complaint of a judicial corporation

The conviction is 311 pages long. There is a part that is not signed by the judges, but rather summarizes the positions of the parties. And in that section, the look of Gustavo Hechem, the lawyer for the García Belsunce and Carrascosa family, is impressive. He describes, in detail, a kind of plot by the Judiciary of San Isidro, in which judges and prosecutors participated, to cover up the very serious errors of the original prosecutor, Diego Molina Pico, and, with that purpose, blame the homicide on the widower.

It lists testimonies that were left aside, how wiretaps in which Pachelo practically confessed to the crime were annulled, expert opinions, forensic statements were rejected and, above all, the irregular way in which the judges were appointed for the oral trial that, in a ruling Divided, they acquitted the neighbor. For example, employees linked to the Pachelo family had said that he bought a 32 caliber weapon – the caliber of the murder -, that he was practicing in a tosquera, that they went to buy projectiles and that for the sale of that tosquera he charged 1,800,000 dollars and then said: “That old woman cost me $800,000.” That is the amount he paid his lawyer to clear him of the accusation, when no one had yet accused him. Even the testimony of Pachelo’s brother, Francisco, who declared that Nicolás had murdered María Marta, was downplayed.

Everything against the widower

The widower, Carlos Carrascosa, was imprisoned in Campana for 6 years and the Supreme Court of the Province of Buenos Aires considered him innocent in 2016, 14 years after the murder of his wife. María Marta was killed on October 27, 2002. Since the Court acquitted Carrascosa, a team of prosecutors from San Isidro, headed by Patricio Ferrari and made up of Federico González and Cosme Irribarren, coordinated by Attorney General John Broyard, worked in all tests. Two other prosecutors carried out the investigation that changed the course of the case: the deceased Inés Domínguez and Andrés Quintana, who also participated in the trial. And there were sections in which they resorted to the advice of the well-known criminalist Raúl Torre, who always maintained the innocence of Carrascosa and the suspicions about Pachelo.

Throughout the years that have passed, this newspaper was able to verify the passion with which all the members of the tax team worked. At the end of the trial hearings, Patricio Ferrari asked for Pachelo’s life imprisonment for having murdered María Marta, but they already knew that two of the three magistrates were part of the plot that was played to cover up the errors committed since the afternoon of the trial. crime. The result was a two-to-one vote that acquitted Pachelo, for the benefit of the doubt.

Trial with the court tilted

The elements against Pachelo were already devastating in the trial itself. There had been proven robberies in houses in the country Carmel, Pachelo had kidnapped the dog Tom from Carrascosa and María Marta, demanding money to return it and lied saying that he was not in the country at the time of the homicide, but on Paseo Alcorta. That alibi was demolished by the prosecution based on the images from the El Carmel security cameras and the categorical testimony of three young people who saw him jogging near the house that was the scene of the brutal murder.

The ruling mentions that some extremely important evidence was left aside:

  • Pachelo went to a service station the day after the crime and asked “what is known about the murder of that woman in the country?” At that time, it was not known that María Marta had been murdered, but it was believed that it was an accident. In other words, it is reasonable to think that only the murderer knew that it was a homicide. In the oral trial, the service station’s testimonies were minimized, maintaining that they were contradictory.
  • A robbery carried out by Pachelo in which he displayed a weapon was also downplayed. It was in the house of the Augé family – Gastón Augé was a friend of Pachelo – whose mother was alone. The judges of the oral court said that it did not resemble Pachelo’s other robberies, but the Cassation magistrates consider this fact to be very similar to that of the murder: the neighbor stole keys, studied what time no one was in the house, entered and was looking for money or valuable goods. Maidana and Budiño’s text lists fact by fact, robbery by robbery. “The facts present great similarities, even their differences make them related,” say the judges.

Other acts of violence by Pachelo are also detailed. Even his own lawyer told a relative, Horacio García Belsunce, before Pachelo was suspected, “in Carmel I have a client who is capable of emptying an entire magazine.” Numerous episodes were recounted by Pachelo’s family, including his stepmother, Jackie Barbará, the last wife of Pachelo’s father, Roberto. The same diagnosis was made by the psychiatrists who participated in the file.

Crime Sunday

“The proven facts express that the purpose of entering the victim’s home was not a vengeful killing, but rather the theft of property,” the judges conclude. As María Marta had already denounced Pachelo, “in the face of María Marta, the accused could foresee that she would not be a passive victim, with the executor foreseeing what was coming. This quickly sealed the fatal fate of García Belsunce.”

Maidana and Budiño describe that Pachelo lied saying that he was not in country music – he did so in several journalistic interviews – but that the testimonies show that he was jogging near Carrascosa and María Marta’s home. The magistrates also recorded that first Pachelo said that he did not run that afternoon because he was injured and that later he changed his version saying that he was jogging to look for his wife’s car. Finally, the footage of the country’s exit shows that he left after the crime, while Pachelo’s version is that at that time he was at the Paseo Alcorta shopping mall. The story shows that the neighbor and his mother, Silvia Ryan, bought a toy for Pachelo’s son, but that was at 9:30 p.m., not at the time when María Marta was killed.

The summary would be the following: María Marta was playing tennis, it started to rain and she decided to return home before the scheduled time. She did it on a bicycle, not in her truck. So she arrived with the noise of the rain and without anyone hearing that she was riding a bicycle, so whoever was inside her did not notice her arrival. The judges affirm that María Marta found Pachelo, he “hit her with his fist on the face and body and then fired six shots at her with the gun, which caused her immediate death, and she fled in power of the box of the Friends of Pilar Association, with the effects that the box contained”.

The evidence mentioned in the ruling runs over more than one hundred pages. For example, that Pachelo unusually later washed the clothes he was wearing, that his entire story of how he moved inside the country that evening was incoherent and that a prisoner, who shared a cell with Pachelo, revealed that he confessed the crime to him.

The conclusion: “condemning Nicolás Roberto Pachelo Ryan as the author criminally responsible for the crimes of robbery aggravated by the use of a weapon and criminis causae homicides to life imprisonment.”

Didn’t you see the shots?

The ruling of Maidana and Budiño devastates a question that weighed heavily on public opinion: how did Carrascosa and her family not realize from the outset that María Marta was murdered? How did they not see the shots? The Cassation magistrates transcribed what the forensic experts who performed the autopsy, Héctor Moreira and Carlos Flores, said: “it was very difficult to determine the cause of death. Having removed all the hair, they saw with difficulty four injuries that seemed sharp, but not penetrating (as in the case of a projectile). It was still impossible to say that they were from a projectile.”

The judges say: “it is clear that the inadvertence that the victim had been shot several times results in a heritage shared by family, friends, doctors, medical assistants, funeral assistants, police and the prosecutor Molina Pico, the latter being the hierarchical officials, also They had before them the body of the victim and the place of the incident and with the expertise that their functional qualities should provide, they noticed nothing.”

In the text, it is reiterated again that the version that the bullet holes were closed with glue or that there was an attempt to cremate the body was false. It all turned out to be a lie.

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