CARACAS, Wednesday December 21, 2005 | Update
Judge Luis Cabrera late Tuesday convicted Juan Bautista Guevara
to 30 years in prison, while Otoniel and Rolando Guevara were
convicted to 27 years and nine months in jail for the crimes
of first degree murder with arson, treachery, and conspiracy
against national environment prosecutor Danilo Anderson.
Anderson was killed in a bomb attack on November 18, 2004.
Around 11.45 p.m. Cabrera -who showed difficulties to express himself with fluidity- completed reading of the considerations on which he based to determine "beyond any reasonable doubt" that the three former police officers had a criminal responsibility.
Juan Bautista Guevara was convicted for planting the bomb that killed Anderson, and also because he carried a gun and a grenade illegally when he was arrested.
Meanwhile, Otoniel and Rolando Guevara were convicted based on the testimonies provided by the key witnesses of the Attorney General's Office, namely Colombian citizen Giovanni José Vásquez De Armas and Venezuelan citizen Alexis Rodolfo Peñuela Márquez. No ruling was made in connection with the fact that the two witnesses conceded they committed crimes. Regarding Vásquez De Armas, he said he participated directly in planning Anderson's murder.
Earlier on Tuesday, the defendants harshly criticized the actions of the prosecution against them, describing the Attorney General's Office as a criminal ring and instrument for retaliation.
They insisted that evidence at the site where Anderson's SUV was blown by a powerful explosion was contaminated. "Evidence seems to have been altered on purpose, with a view to hide the real culprits," said Rolando Guevara.
They described as inexplicable the fact that Disip former investigations department head Jesús Arellano showed at the site where Anderson was killed less than five minutes following the explosion.
They reminded that the Attorney General's Office refused to delve into Disip irregular participation immediately after the explosion, even though there were witnesses willing to testify in this connection.
The three defendants strongly rejected the testimonies of Giovanni Vásquez and Alexis Peñuela.
"Our hands are tied up, and the worse thing is that Anderson's murder is still unpunished," said Otoniel Guevara.
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.