Father of Mari Luz faces jail on attempted murder charge

Juan José Cortés was hired as PP advisor after campaign over daughter's killing

Juan José Cortés (right) with former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2008.
Juan José Cortés (right) with former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in 2008. GORKA LEJARCEGI

Prosecutors are asking for a 10-year-sentence for the father of Mari Luz — the kidnapped girl who was found dead after she went missing for 54 days — who is on trial in Huelva on charges of attempted murder stemming from a shooting incident that took place following an argument with another man in 2011.

Juan José Cortés — who was catapulted to national fame in 2007 after he launched a public-awareness campaign about the flaws in the Spanish justice system after his five-year-old daughter's murder — has also been charged of weapons violations, along with his two brothers and brother-in-law. According to prosecutors, Cortés and his family members appeared at the Huelva home of Antonio Fernández in the early hours of September 21, 2011. Cortés and Fernández had had an argument the day before. The defendants arrived at the home with a gasoline can and threatened to burn Fernández and his family inside the home, the charges state.

The shootout occurred when Cortés and his family pulled out hunting rifles — even though they had no license to possess the weapons — and began shooting at the windows. A bullet grazed Fernández's head but he survived the attack.

Cortés had been hired by the Popular Party (PP) as an advisor following his campaign to demand stricter punishments for pedophiles and other sex offenders. His five-year-old died at the hands of a convicted pedophile, Santiago del Valle, who had been granted an early release from prison. Del Valle confessed to the murder.

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