A jury in Girona on Tuesday handed down 11 guilty verdicts against a former worker at a residential care home who was charged with murdering elderly patients by forcing them to drink toxic substances such as bleach.
Joan Vila, who is known as the “porter of Olot,” was not only aware of what he was doing but had also carefully covered up the murders of his 11 victims, prosecutor Enrique Barata told jurors. The crimes have become known as the worst serial killing spree in Spain in recent decades.
The 47-year-old Vila, who at first faked that he was suffering from mental illness, confessed to the killings. At the beginning of his 15-day trial, Olot explained that he killed the patients “to ease their sufferings.”
But last Friday he said: “I just want to say that I am sorry for what I did and for allowing it to come to this extreme; I don’t want to say anything else.”
Vila worked for five years at the La Caritat convalescent home in Olot, Girona, where he committed his crimes. Investigators only became suspicious when an 85-year-old woman, Paquita Gironès, was transferred to hospital in agony after Vila had given her an acid substance to drink.
According to his co-workers, Vila and the woman hated each other.
Prosecutors are asking for a 194-year sentence for Vila, while his defense lawyers, who argued their client was mentally ill, have asked for a 20-year probationary period.