Monday, May 16

The Supreme lowers Rodrigo Lanza’s sentence for murder to 18 years by rejecting the ideological crime

The Supreme Court has decided to sentence Rodrigo Lanza to 18 and a half years in prison for murdering Víctor Laínez in a bar in Zaragoza in December 2017. The judges maintain that Lanza, already sentenced more than a decade ago for leaving an agent quadriplegic of the Barcelona Urban Guard, murdered Laínez after arguing with him but slightly lowered his sentence by eliminating the aggravating circumstance of having acted for ideological reasons. The fact that the victim wore or had worn in the past suspenders with the flag of Spain, as alleged during the case, led to the case being initially dubbed the ‘crime of the suspenders’.

The Superior Court of Justice of Aragon confirms the sentence of 20 years in prison for Rodrigo Lanza for the ‘crime of the suspenders’

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The Supreme Court judges do not deny that Lanza had a “discriminatory behavior” towards the victim, calling him “facha” and “fascist”, but they emphasize that the subsequent discussion in which the murder took place is of unknown content. Applying this aggravating circumstance for discrimination to murder, explains the Supreme Court, would be acting against the accused.

Rodrigo Lanza murdered Víctor Laínez at the Tocadiscos bar in Zaragoza in December 2017. The two met at the bar and a friend of Lanza told him that the victim “was on the extreme right or neo-Nazi and that he sometimes wore suspenders in the colors of the Spanish flag. In a first discussion, Lanza accused him of being “facha and fascist” and reproached him for having called him a “sudaca”, also stating that “this is an anti-fascist neighborhood and we don’t want Nazis in the neighborhood”. After a while, the victim and the murderer had a new meeting outside the bar and that was when Rodrigo Lanza punched him in the head and from behind to continue kicking him in the head when he was inert on the floor. The defendant left there and Víctor Laínez died days later at the Zaragoza Clinical Hospital.

The case has gone around the courts several times before being finally sentenced by the Supreme Court. Rodrigo Lanza sat on the bench before a popular jury that found him guilty of homicide but the Justice ordered to repeat the process with a new jury. On that second occasion he was sentenced to two decades in prison but for a crime of murder with the mitigating factor of drunkenness for being drunk and the aggravating circumstance of ideological discrimination.

The Supreme Court has confirmed most of his sentence but reduces his sentence to 18 and a half years on the understanding that there is insufficient evidence to understand that the crime was ideologically motivated. The second discussion between the two, immediately prior to the fatal beating, is of unknown content and therefore a sentence cannot be imposed based on words that have not been clarified.

Lanza’s previous insults, acknowledges the Supreme Court, had a “clear ideological charge” and show “the arrogance of those who insult and harass the other’s ideology.” But the discussion that preceded the blows is unknown: “It is not known what they talked about and what they discussed outside, only that it was after the insults with unspecified content,” says the Supreme Court, understanding that this crossing of words unknown “could have been the determining act of the subsequent aggressive reaction that produced the result of death.”

The judges do confirm that Rodrigo Lanza must compensate the victim’s family in the same terms established by the Aragonese courts: a total of 200,000 euros for the mother, the two children and the three brothers of Víctor Laínez.