Judges rule that wife-killer who handed himself to police after hiding in rainforest for 22 years should be set free because statute of limitations has expired

Friday, March 01, 2024
 – Judges have ruled that a man who hid in the woods for 22 years after being convicted of murdering his wife in Argentina should be freed.

Ramon Angel Abregu, now aged 70, had escaped from a prison van in 2001 after being sentenced to 20 years behind bars for gunning down his estranged pregnant wife.

He remerged from the rainforest where he had taken refuge last year and handed himself in. Now, the courts have decided to let him walk because his 'statute of limitations expires'.

Abregu turned up at the same courtroom where he was convicted in 2001 claiming immunity from being sent back to serve his sentence.

His lawyer, Alejandro De la Riva, confirmed: 'The statute of limitations is 20 years, which is the time in which he managed to remain a fugitive living in hiding.'

He said his client had already served his sentence because 'being a fugitive is like serving time'.

And now, the Justice of Tierra del Fuego confirmed his freedom by declaring the case statute barred on February 27.

The decision was taken by the Rio Grande Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeals but has to be rubber-stamped by Argentina's Superior Court of Justice before Abregu can be freed.

Police and prosecutors are now holding him in custody while they work out if he can be legally sent back to prison or freed.

Abregu had been in hiding in rainforests in Salteno Chaco in the wild north of Argentina, home to pumas, deer, and vampire bats.

The murder happened in the city of Río Grande in Argentina's southernmost tip in January 2000.

On the day of the attack, local news sources detail that Abregú attacked Falcón - who was seven months pregnant - with a 9-millimeter caliber gun at her home.

Wounded, Falcón reportedly managed to escape and took refuge in the guard room of the Cemep Clinic, where Abregú caught up with her killing her with four more shots.

In February of the following year, it is understood Abregú escaped from a Margen Sur prison hiding in a truck headed for Chile.

All these years Abregú remained hidden in the jungle, in the Chaco Salteño, and managed to re-enter the Tierra del Fuego province without being detected by any authorities on Wednesday, according to Argentine newspaper Clarín.

They said he appeared in court to request the prescription of the case, while his lawyer, Alejandro De la Riva, disclosed Abregú passed through two Argentine and two Chilean border crossings 'furtively' and without documents.

'The statute of limitations is 20 years, which is the time in which he managed to remain a fugitive living in hiding. He served his sentence that way,' De la Riva reportedly explained to Fuegian media.

But the process may not be that simple and some legal issues surrounding what happened remain to be resolved, sources from the intervening criminal prosecutor's office told Clarín.

'The precepts of international law treaties adopted by the country govern and could be applied to deny this person's freedom,' they said. 

Post a Comment