CRIME

José Bretón sentenced to 40 years for murder of his two young children

Magistrate upholds verdict of jury in case that convulsed Spanish society Ruth, aged six, and José, aged two, put to sleep with tranquilizers before being burned in bonfire

José Bretón during his trial for the murder of his two children.
José Bretón during his trial for the murder of his two children.Salas / EFE

A magistrate on Monday sentenced José Bretón to 40 years in prison for the murder of his two young children in what was deemed to be an act of vengeance against his former wife after she filed for divorce.

In a case that convulsed Spanish society, Bretón had been found guilty by a jury of presumably putting his children, Ruth, who was six years old, and José, two, to sleep with tranquilizers before burning their bodies in a large bonfire in an estate owned by his family. The events took place on October 8, 2011 in the southern city of Córdoba.

Bretón, a former member of the armed forces, claimed he had lost sight of the children in a park. Forensic investigators found what they said were the remains of bones of two young children in the ashes of the bonfire. He had bought tranquilizers and large amounts of diesel fuel in preparation for the murders.

Bretón, a former member of the armed forces, claimed he had lost sight of the children in a park

The magistrate, Pedro J. Vela, upheld the verdict of the jury and condemned Bretón to 20 years in jail for each child, the same sentence as requested by the public prosecutor. Bretón has already spent two years in preventive custody.

The judge also ordered that Bretón not be let out on furlough until he had completed at least half of his sentence. He was also barred from approaching his ex-wife Ruth Ortiz Ramos, to whom he must pay compensation of 500,000 euros. He was also ordered to pay compensation to the Interior Ministry of 137,335 euros and 22,567 euros to Córdoba City Hall.