CRIME

Third suspect in child murder case tells court he was in Madrid on day of crime

Man's semen was found on 12-year-old's clothing, but no one can explain how it got there

The defense lawyer for Rosario Porto, who stands accused of the murder of her adopted daughter, 12-year-old Asunta Basterra, said Thursday he will seek to have the judicial process annulled after a third person implicated in the crime gave evidence. Porto’s husband, Alfonso Basterra, also faces murder charges.

In a videoconference conducted from the Navalcarnero magistrate’s court outside Madrid, a man whose semen was found on the clothes Asunta was wearing when she disappeared on September 21 denied any involvement in the case, and claimed that on the day of the girl’s disappearance he was in the capital shopping for a wedding suit. The man, who has been named as a suspect in the case but is not under arrest, produced receipts to back up his alibi.

However, Porto’s lawyer said that the fact that there is no CCTV footage of the man in the mall he said he visited, coupled with the failure of any shop workers to recall seeing him, proved that “he has no alibi.”

More information
Judge accuses parents of planning 12-year-old’s death for months
Was Asunta killed by her mother?
Asunta’s father denies any knowledge of circumstances of 12-year-old’s death
Search continues for evidence linking parents to murder of 12-year-old

How the suspect’s semen came to be on Asunta’s clothing remains a mystery. Initial suspicions alighted on a mix-up at the Civil Guard’s forensic criminology lab in Madrid, although the department flatly denies this. The sources that provided this newspaper with that information also refute claims that the chain of evidence was contaminated in Galicia. No traces of semen were found on the woodland trail outside Santiago de Compostela where Asunta’s body was discovered on September 22. However, the man is on the Civil Guard’s records as a suspected rapist.

Also on Thursday, a psychiatrist who has examined Porto told the Santiago court handling the case that Asunta’s mother posed no threat to others but did show signs of potentially self-harming. Porto and Basterra have been in preventive custody since their daughter’s death, on suspicion of having drugged and asphyxiated the youngster.

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