Mother seeks daughter’s acquittal at León politician’s murder trial

Defendant has already admitted to killing Isabel Carrasco in cold blood in 2014

Fernando J. Pérez
Montserrat González (second from right) and her daughter Triana (left) on Tuesday.
Montserrat González (second from right) and her daughter Triana (left) on Tuesday.J. C. (EFE)
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On day one of the trial over the 2014 murder of a politician in León, one of the defendants, Montserrat González, assumed full responsibility for the killing in a bid to see her own daughter acquitted.

At the trial by jury, which began on Monday and is being held in the Provincial Court of León, González’s defense claimed that his client suffered from mental illness as a result of the alleged persecution that her daughter, Triana Martínez, was suffering at the hands of the victim.

The dead woman, Isabel Carrasco, was a powerful figure in regional politics. The 59-year-old had been the leader of the Popular Party (PP) in León since 2004, and the head of the Provincial Council since 2007. While in the latter role, in 2011, she fired González’s daughter from her position at the local authority.

Until that point, both families had been close, and Triana had become Carrasco’s apparent protege.

The prosecutor is certain that the two women and a female police officer plotted to kill Carrasco in cold blood

The prosecuting attorney holds that Triana and her mother schemed to kill the politician – who was shot dead in broad daylight on a footbridge on May 12, 2014 – and that part of the plan involved the mother quickly handing over the murder weapon, a Taurus revolver, to the daughter for safekeeping.

Instead, the defense alleges that the mother threw the handbag containing the weapon into a garage, and that Triana picked it up without knowing what was inside before giving it to her friend Raquel Gago, a local policewoman who is also a defendant in the case.

On this basis, the defense lawyer is asking for a seven-year prison sentence for Montserrat González, with the extenuating circumstances of mental illness and the fact that she has already paid damages to the victim’s partner and daughter. Triana, says her attorney, should be fully acquitted.

But León chief prosecutor Emilio Fernández is certain that both women – in connivance with the female police officer, who had the weapon in her power for 30 hours – plotted to kill Carrasco in cold blood.

A controversial woman

L. G. / J. A. R. / J. J. G.

Isabel Carrasco was a controversial figure who was routinely in the spotlight for her outspoken statements. In 2011 the conservative politician was accused by the Socialist Party in León of misappropriating public funds for personal use. An investigation conducted by EL PAÍS found her to be holding 12 jobs simultaneously, many of them symbolic roles, which brought her income of around €160,000 in 2010.

Triana Martínez, who was a member of the León Popular Party, was included on the PP’s slate for the municipal elections in Astorga in 2007, but was not elected councilor. That same year she began working in the Provincial Council of León as a telecommunications engineer, providing advisory work on matters related to high-speed internet and digital terrestrial television.

After her position was eliminated by Carrasco, she became involved in a legal dispute with her former employer, who claimed she owed €6,500 in wages that were erroneously paid to her. A court settled in the council’s favor.

He said that the victim was stalked for several days, and that she was shot in the back at a spot where there were no cameras, on the footbridge over the Bernesga River.

“If it hadn’t been for the retired policeman who witnessed the crime and ran after Montserrat, it would have been nearly impossible to identify the perpetrators of the crime,” he said.

The accusation wants all three defendants to serve 23 years for murder, assaulting an authority figure and possession of firearms.

The prosecutor also rejects claims about mental alienation. “They just felt a profound hatred toward Isabel Carrasco,” he said.

Fernández warned the jury that the defense would try to show them “how nasty Isabel Carrasco was,” but reminded them that “no matter what she was like, nobody had the right to kill her. And even if it were proven that she was hurtful to Triana, that is no justification for killing her, much less in the cowardly way in which they did it.”

English version by Susana Urra.

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