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Murder of Costa Rican conservationist Jairo Mora headed for retrial

August 5, 2015

A Costa Rican appeals court has called for a retrial in the murder case of conservationist Jairo Mora, court spokeswoman Andrea Marín told The Tico Times on Wednesday. The case will return to the Limón court where the case was initially heard to set a trial date with a new panel of judges. All seven of the suspects from the original trial will be charged.

Rodrigo Araya, a lawyer for the Mora family, told The Tico Times that the family was pleased with the appeals court ruling.

“This is great news,” Araya said. “This time justice will be served.”

Prosecutors had asked for a retrial in June after the first was marred by a badly bungled investigation by Judicial Investigation Police and a botched prosecution. In January the three-judge panel acquitted the seven men accused of murdering the 26-year-old sea turtle conservationist.

There is no prohibition against double jeopardy in Costa Rica and the legal system allows for retrials and appeals.

Mora was killed on May 31, 2013 while patrolling Moín Beach north of the Caribbean city of Limón to protect nesting turtles from poachers.

Following the messy trial, several international organizations, including the United Nations, called on the government to rectify its mistakes and hold those responsible for the killing. But the original judges warned that the investigation was so poorly conducted that any retrial would be difficult to successfully prosecute.

Araya, the Mora family’s lawyer, is confident about the outcome of a new trial.

“With all due respect, the decision of the last panel was mistaken,” Araya said. “The evidence was good and this time we’re going to get a conviction.”

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