26 November 2003
MADRID – Eight Spanish senators said Wednesday they will launch a last-ditch legal battle to save a Spaniard who is on death row in the United States.
Pablo Ibar, 31, was sentenced to death for the triple murder of a bar owner and two other women in a robbery which went wrong.
The murders were captured on a surveillance camera mounted in the home of Casimir Sucharski, one of the victims.
The chilling black-and-white video also shows the final 22 minutes in the lives of victims Marie Rogers and Sharon Anderson, both 25. Sucharski was repeatedly beaten with a gun.
The case against Ibar depended largely on that grainy video, shot from the corner of the room.
Several witnesses identified him as the man in the video and jurors had a chance to make their own comparisons. Circumstantial evidence also connected him, but no physical evidence.
The murders happened in 1994 but the case has become a cause celebre in Spain.
Campaigners have raised E176,910 to help pay Ibar’s legal costs in the United States.
When Florida senator Jeb Bush – brother of the American president – visited Spain, he was barracked by campaigners.
The Spanish senators will attend a court session in the US state of Florida next week when a judge hears an appeal filed by an attorney for Ibar.
The Florida Supreme Court session is to be held on 2 December.
“They want to support the family and express the backing of the Spanish people for Pablo Ibar,” a source close to the legislators said.
Heading the delegation of senators from several parties will be Senate Vice President Javier Rojo.
The trial three years ago was Ibar’s second after jurors in a 1998 trial were unable to arrive at a unanimous verdict and the judge declared a mistrial.
Ibar has always maintained his innocence and was convicted of the murders despite the prosecutor failing to produce fingerprints or DNA evidence placing him at the scene fo the crime.
An alleged accomplice, Seth Peñalver, was also found guilty and condemned to death.
His attorney, Peter Raban, successfully argued before the Florida Supreme court for a second trial for another Spaniard convicted of murder, Joaquin José Martínez, who was eventually declared innocent and released from death row.
Raban said there were significant irregularities in Ibar’s two trials and expressed optimism that he could get his client off death row on Florida’s Starke State Prison.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news