Logroño, (EFE).- On October 28, 2021, Álex, a 9-year-old boy, celebrated the Halloween party and was playing in a park in Lardero (La Rioja), when he was approached by Francisco Javier Almeida, who, after 17 months, he will sit in the dock as the alleged perpetrator of his murder and sexual assault, crimes in which he is a repeat offender.
The Provincial Court of Logroño will host from next Monday, March 20, and for two weeks, this trial by popular jury, where the defendant faces, for the crime of murder, the revisable permanent prison sentence requested by the prosecutor and the private accusations, on behalf of the minor’s family; and popular, exercised by the Clara Campoamor Association.
This event caused great shock and indignation, among other reasons, because the alleged perpetrator had been on probation since April 2020, after being sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder and sexual assault of a Logroño real estate agent in 1998, sentence that ended on August 17, 2023.
He agreed to third degree with the contrary majority opinion of the Treatment Board of the El Dueso prison (Cantabria), where he was interned, understanding that he was not prepared to access it because there was a risk of recidivism.
take care of a puppy
Almeida, who was 54 years old at the time, convinced Álex, who was disguised as the “girl from the exorcist”, to accompany him to his home, located next to the park, with the excuse of helping him take care of a puppy.
He took him to the bedroom and, “moved by the sole desire to quench his lewdness”, he sexually assaulted him and, later, without Álex being able to defend himself or ask for help, he immobilized him with his arm around his neck, “squeezing him hard with the intention of causing him death by suffocation”, according to the prosecutor’s brief.
He picked up the lifeless body of the little boy and went out to the stairs to take him to the garage and get rid of him with the car, but he couldn’t do it when he was surprised by the neighbors and police who were already looking for Álex, after the warning given by one of the girls who were in the park.
When he was surprised, the defendant said that the minor “had fainted.”
Almedia, on November 4, 2021, was transferred, for security reasons, from the Logroño prison to the Segovia prison, from where, on April 5 of the following year, he appeared by videoconference before the head of the Investigating Court number 2 of
Logroño and accepted his right not to testify.
reviewable permanent imprisonment
The three accusations -public, private and popular- request for the defendant a reviewable permanent prison sentence for the crime of murder and, for sexual assault, 15 years in prison.
To them are added, in the case of the prosecutor, compensation of 500,000 euros for the parents and 150,000 for Álex’s little brother; and one of 2 million euros for the parents of the minor in the case of the private and popular accusations, both exercised by the lawyer Alicia Redondo.
In addition, they request that measures be established so that the defendant cannot reside in La Rioja or communicate with or approach Álex’s family.
There are no words
“There are no words” was the most widespread expression among the residents of Lardero, a municipality in the metropolitan area of Logroño and with some 11,500 inhabitants, after learning about the event, which caused feelings of sadness, indignation and anger because some people had already warned previously about the presence of a man who “watched” the children in the park, in the vicinity of which there is a school.
In fact, Almeida had already tried to get at least two girls to come to his house with the excuse that he had some very pretty birds, to which they did not agree, according to the mother of one of them.
The park in the Entre Ríos de Lardero area was very crowded on the evening of February 28, 2021, so when Álex’s murder became known, numerous neighbors gathered in front of Almeida’s home, where scenes were experienced. tensile.
The Civil Guard had to establish a device to be able to remove the detainee from the property and transfer him to the Benemérita premises.
The next day, a minute of silence was observed in the park where Álex played, where flowers were laid out, especially white keys, and a teddy bear; and at his school.
And on October 31, 2021, a concentration was called in that park, where his relatives, surrounded by several thousand people, assured that this crime “could have been avoided.”
May something like this never happen again
A 12-year-old boy and girl who were in the park when the events occurred, around 8:30 p.m., placed Almeida sitting on a bench and insisted that it was not the first time he had tried to get one of the minors to accompany him. home with some excuse.
This is how they defended him on June 29, 2022 during the investigation of the case, in which they testified before the judge accompanied by a forensic psychologist and protected by a screen so as not to see Almeida, who decided to attend this statement in person, although, previously , had refused to participate in other tests.
The parents of the two minors expressed their indignation that the defendant agreed to be present during the statement, although they insisted that “if it is to do justice to Álex, we declare and do what is necessary” so that “something like this never happens again” .
Alex we are all
“Álex is not a name, Álex we are all” was one of the phrases that stood out on October 28, 2022, during an emotional rally in Lardero, so as not to forget what happened a year before and convey to the family the support and affection in these “hard times”.
The family spokesman, Gonzalo Martín, Álex’s great-uncle, read a statement during the rally, held in the same place where the little boy disappeared; and balloons were released, one of them in the shape of the moon and the other of a star so that they “reach him.”
“A child who became, by force, a star, a new star with the name of victor and protector, who for a year has illuminated us with his light from heaven,” said Martín.
He also demanded a change in laws, statutes and protocols from the judges and the authorities so that something like what happened to Álex “never happens again”.
Repeat offender and two jury trials
The people’s court that will judge Almeida is made up of six men and three women, to which are added two substitutes; Their ages range from 20 to 66 years and they include a musician, a physiotherapist, a beautician, a housewife, three workers, two are unemployed and two are retired.
It is the second time that Almeida has faced a jury trial. The first time was also in Logroño, in the year 2000, when he was convicted of the crimes of murder and sexual assault on a real estate agent in 1998.
On that occasion, the jury took nine hours to convict him and the Provincial Court of the Rioja capital sentenced him to 20 years in prison for the crime of murder and 10 for sexual assault.
However, the entry into force of the law for the comprehensive guarantee of sexual freedom, known as the law of only yes is yes, caused, last January, the reduction from 10 to 8 years of the sentence imposed on Almeida for that sexual assault he committed in 1998.
Almeida had already been sentenced in 1993 to 7 years in prison for the sexual assault of a minor. EFE