The sentence imposed by a popular jury on the elderly Pau Rigo, the man who at 78 years old (he is now 83) shot dead one of the two thieves who violently assaulted him in his home, continues to generate reactions of rejection.
Last Friday afternoon a Facebook group was created called 'Freedom for Pau Rigo for self-defense'. This Monday morning the initiative, less than 48 hours later, already accumulated 8,000 followers, and continued to add adhesions.
The administrator of this spontaneous initiative, created after knowing the guilty verdict of the court, Gema Penela, has explained in statements collected by the Mallorcan newspaper Última Hora that she has no link with the old man already convicted, beyond the town where he resides.
"We ask everyone for calm, we are upset with the decision but we are civilized people, we will wait for the sentence and we will communicate by the group the appropriate measures," he explained, adding that they will act "always within the law."
"I did not know Rigo at all but when I saw in the news that this poor man was declared guilty, the sky fell on me," said the promoter of the Facebook group. In the public conversation of the group there are comments in favor of the old man declared murderer, who ask for his exoneration by maintaining that he was defending his house and his family from the gang of assailants. There are those who come to ask that "he deserves a street and a square with his name" and who say they would do "the same" if they saw themselves in their situation.
At the moment, the verdict issued by the popular jury composed of nine citizens ties the Provincial Court of the Balearic Islands to a conviction. But this must be drafted and Rigo's defense sees room for the case to be technically null and void by not counting some of the points of the verdict with the seven votes in favor (out of a total of nine) required by law in these cases.
In this regard, it should be emphasized that guilt divided the jury, and was supported by five votes in favor to four against. This element has caused other legal voices to raise technical doubts about the correctness of the verdict.
Be that as it may, the sentence will be released in the coming days. The prosecutor is demanding three years and nine months in jail for Rigo, who sat in the dock at the same time as the three accused of the assault and planning the robbery, who face total requests of 16 years in prison.
His defense, exercised by the criminal lawyer Fernando Mateas, asks for his acquittal, based on the evidence practiced in the trial and the need to apply the complete defenses for legitimate defense. The sentence will not be final, and will foreseeably be appealed before the High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands, and may subsequently reach the Supreme Court.
The case has not only caused commotion in Mallorca, where there is no precedent for a matter of this nature. It has transcended the limits of the archipelago and has caused some well-known voices to comment on the matter, such as that of the well-known writer, academic and journalist Arturo Pérez-Reverte.
"Let the robbers and various assailants take good note," the author wrote in his networks with his characteristic direct tone. "If any life is sacred, as they say, that of a home robber is even more sacred. They're going to give us all, but fine. And with all the reason in the world."
Deputy of Vox
The politician and deputy of Vox, Jorge Campos, leader of the right-wing formation in the Balearic Islands, has shown his solidarity with Rigo: "all my support to Pau Rigo, victim of legislation that has turned Spain into a paradise for criminals," he wrote in networks.
As reported by this newspaper, in his last turn of speech during the trial, the old man said that he has "suffered a lot" and that his life "changed when those people entered" his house. "Never in my life did I think I would have to do what I did," he said.
During the hearing, the man was questioned at length by the prosecutor and lawyers in the case. In his reconstruction of that day, Rigo explained that it was the second time in just three months that that gang entered to rob him at his home (a country house in the municipality of Porreres). That they told him "that they were from the devil's gang", that they threatened him and mentioned his grandchildren to intimidate him. They were seeking, he said, an alleged loot of 200,000 euros, the result of the sale of his slot machine company.
However, as he explained, they did not find such an amount in the first robbery. And they came back again, although he could not identify them because they were "covered from head to toe, in camouflage suits."
The old man reconstructed the assault during the trial. He explained how they grabbed him by the neck and arm and dragged him into his house, locking his wife in a room. "I thought we would die there, that they would lock us up and we would die."
Then, according to his explanation, he had the idea of wielding a hunting shotgun that he kept loaded and that he used "to hunt three or four rabbits a year." "I thought they would see the shotgun and leave but they attacked me and I fired, I didn't know what happened," he told the jury, collapsing at times. "I did what I had to do, I had no other way out," he added in his shocking statement.
The surviving assailant came to show during the trial his apology to the old man, for which he said he felt sorry, because he considered that without his participation "these events would not have occurred."
"I do not come to excuse myself, I had participation," he said, as well as that "from the first day I wanted to tell the truth and I have not been the only one to blame." He denied that he and his brother pounced on the old man before he pulled the trigger, and that he only threw himself and struggled with him afterwards.
The popular jury voted for the guilt of the old man (who should also pay compensation to the victim's family) but at the same time supported that he be pardoned by the Government before a sentence of imprisonment. At the moment, from his defense they do not consider this possibility since they will continue to defend an acquittal before all judicial instances.