A prosecutor requested a new trial in the 2013 killing of Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora on Tuesday morning at an appeals court in Cartago, east of the capital, local media reported.
Three of the suspects were acquitted of all charges on Jan. 26. The remaining four defendants were found guilty of raping and robbing a Costa Rican couple and their young nephews nearly two weeks before Mora’s murder.
Mora was killed on May 31, 2013 while patrolling Moín Beach north of the Caribbean city of Limón to protect nesting turtles from poachers.
The prosecutor argued that the trial in Limón illegally excluded important evidence, including telephone recordings that were ruled inadmissible. Rodrigo Araya, a lawyer for Mora’s family, told the news site CRHoy.com that the family requested the appeal in February, citing missing evidence and constant delays in the proceedings, among other technical errors in the trial.
Araya was not alone in critiquing the state’s case. The criminal investigation and trial were so badly bungled by the state that the judges presiding over the case slammed the government for its poor showing, saying that they had no choice but to acquit the seven defendants for the murder charge.