Pablo Ibar, the Spanish-American who spent 16 years on death row and to whom a jury returned to plead guilty in January to a triple murder in Florida, returned to the courtroom on Wednesday, where the phase that will determine the sentence and, therefore, if he is condemned again to capital punishment or life imprisonment.
In 2016 the Supreme Court of the state annulled the sentence that had been imposed in 2000 for deficiencies in its defense and ordered the repetition of the process. During the new trial – the fourth to which he submitted for the same events – the efforts of his new lawyers to demonstrate that the accusation was based on altered or inconsistent evidence and induced testimony did not prevent the jury from issuing, with unanimity required of its twelve members, a guilty verdict. He is again considered responsible for the murder in 1994, in a house in the town of Miramar, the owner of a nightclub, Casimir Sucharski, and two dancers, Marie Rogers and Sharon Anderson.
Now the jury has not recommended a sentence in the so-called sentencing phase, which began this Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale. In it, the parties intervene again, each of which contributes its witnesses. It is expected that the members of the jury retire to deliberate next Wednesday and that same or the next day they issue their recommendation. In the case of death sentence, it must be unanimously. If not, it will be life imprisonment.
However, in case the jury recommends the death penalty, the judge may lower the sentence to life imprisonment. On the other hand, it is not entitled to increase it from life imprisonment to capital punishment.
A first setback
This new phase began with a bad footing for the defense, since Judge Dennis Bailey rejected the motion he had submitted to "prohibit" the condemnation of Ibar to the death penalty, based on the "international human rights of his two minor children. » The lawyers argued that his wife, Tanya Ibar, has two children of seven and twelve years "who by the time of his birth recognize him as his father."
The brief cited the International Convention on Children and the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and cited a specialist to warn that minors are "especially vulnerable to psychological and emotional trauma associated with the well-being of their parents and particularly of their prisoner father. »
The judge replied that, although the specialist can be a witness at this stage of the trial, what the motion raises is not an acceptable legal argument, says Efe.
Pablo Ibar, nephew of boxer Urtain and son of a former Basque pelota player who emigrated to Florida, has spent more than half his life behind bars. His father, Cándido Ibar, is confident that he will not be sentenced to death, but to life imprisonment. "It's not very good either, but between the two things, it's the best," he told Radio Euskadi on Wednesday. .