"Hell in module 3": Prosecutor requests 30 years in prison for inmates accused of setting other prisoners on fire

He repeated three times that what happened was “hell.” It was the most descriptive word that she found to tell what happened on the night of January 12, 2021 in module 3 of the Comcar. Although later, she described something very similar to a scene from a savage movie: people threatened by unstoppable fire and “spears”.

For the attached Homicide Prosecutor of 2either Turn Micaela Dávila, the fire that killed two inmates and seriously injured another five “is unfortunately one more page written in the books of prison life.” But despite an “extremely complex” investigation that cost “sweat and tears,” he requested the conviction of five prisoners for the co-authorship of homicide, very particularly aggravated to the sentence of 30 years in prison, the maximum that can be requested, according to the record of the trial hearing to which you agreed The Observer.

The reason was a previous conflict between cell 20 and 16. But that night in January 2021, according to the tax theory, those in the first one had the intention of killing. The one who gave the initial kick was one of the defendants, who was actually staying in cell 19. He “outwitted prison security”, left through the serving hatch of his cell, went to cell 20 and managed to break the padlock to allow his four accomplices came out.

Thus, the five of them went to cell 16 where they did the same. They broke the padlock, attacked them with “throws” from the door, threw a mattress on fire and, with the intention of “setting them on fire,” they threw accelerator liquid at them, Dávila described. The victims were desperate to get out, but the defendants remained standing at the cell door “hurting whoever tried to flee from that oven that was cell 16.”

Through the fire and the spears, five of them managed to survive, but two of their companions burned to death. The forensic expert who analyzed the bodies of the deceased declared this Monday in a hearing that he witnessed The Observer. He described the level of burns they had and that the reason for the deaths was linked to smoke intoxication. But, at the request of the prosecution, they also stopped at the details: the two had burns up to their ears and one of them had dark blood, a product of the fire.

Two other forensic experts also testified, confirming the injuries of three of their cellmates. The diagnosis matched: “exposure to direct fire.” They were hospitalized in the Burn Center for months, they needed grafts and they were all at risk of death. One of them also had stab wounds, although the coroner said she could not fully ensure that they were from that same day. One of them suffers from depression due to the aesthetic impact of the scars. In turn, because he was in prison he could not access the treatment he should have had: use of multiple repair creams and control with a plastic surgeon.

Dávila stressed that investigations in prisons are difficult. “It becomes extremely complex to have the word of the victims, and not to mention witnesses. Nobody, but nobody, wants to be a buchón. They are afraid of reprisals and it is known that life becomes a bargaining chip,” he illustrated. “Prison should be a place where people serve the sentence that corresponds to them according to the laws of a country and their passage through that place should have the purpose of rehabilitation, reintegration, resocialization. It is inadmissible that a place like this, with for that purpose, lends itself to major atrocities such as the one that occurred on January 12, 2021,” he added on the same occasion.

The lawyers for the defendants -some of them have private defense and others public- argued that at that time “the place was a war” and there was a logic of “everyone against everyone”. One of them, Mathias Compañ, warned that that day “the police were negligent” and there was “police corruption.”

At the request of one of the defendants, a cellmate who was not identified by the prosecution as the perpetrator of the crime testified as a witness. The young man said that that night those in cell 16 were looking to “rob, steal” cell 20 to get a phone from them. He said he did not know how the fire started, but that he and his companions got scared and stuck to the bathroom in their cell.

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