US double murder: Luis Guaman tried in Ecuador


A gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Joe Raedle

Luis Guaman, 41, is being tried in his home country of Ecuador after being accused in the Brockton, Massachusetts, double murder of a 25-year-old mother and her toddler.

A judge in Ecuador said a ruling is expected to be reached on Monday in the February 2011 bludgeoning deaths of Ecuadorean Maria Avelina Palaguachi and her young son, Brian Caguana, according to the Associated Press. A three-judge court will be making the decision that could put Guaman behind bars for 25 years.

The highly unusual case comes after 14 months of back-and-forth between the United States and Ecuador about where Guaman should face trial. The Boston Globe reported that Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz and US Senator Scott Brown have demanded Ecuador use an existing extradition treaty between the two countries to turn Guaman over. Officials in Ecuador have refused — saying their constitution forbids extraditing Ecuadorean citizens — and begged US officials to help them prosecute him.

"We have to respect our constitution and our laws, but our laws also allow for him to be judged here," said Rocio Polo, prosecutor in the city of Cuenca, where Guaman is being held, according to the Globe. "This is not a refuge for criminals, and we have demonstrated that throughout these many months."

According to the AP, presiding judge Azucena Andrade said a hearing set for Wednesday was postponed when two relatives of the victims didn't appear to give live video testimony from the US.

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