(CNN Spanish) — “I want to apologize, I didn’t mean to kill.”
These were the words, during the trial, of Máximo Thomsen, one of those accused of the murder of Fernando Báez Sosa, an 18-year-old young man who died in the early morning of January 18, 2020 after a brutal beating by a group of men from between 21 and 23 years old who today answer before the Argentine justice for the crime that occurred in Villa Gessell, 380 kilometers from Buenos Aires.
Thomsen’s words came this week, on the 11th day of the trial, during a hearing loaded with testimony and revelations in which Báez Sosa’s parents could not be present due to the large number of details about their son’s final night.
The case, which reached oral trial on January 2, shocked and moved public opinion due to the pain of Báez Sosa’s parents, who lost their only son, but also due to the brutality and coldness of the attack and the silence of the defendants during and after the murder.
“We are close to justice and the evidence is compelling,” Graciela Sosa told local media on January 10. “Everything coincides and I think that everyone is involved. I hope they give them the maximum sentence, which is life, because Fernando is in a place from which he will never return.”
The defendants could face life in prison.
These are the keys to the trial up to now.
In the early morning of January 18, 2020, Fernando Báez Sosa was on vacation in Villa Gessell, and had gone out dancing at the Le Brique nightclub, where he had an altercation with a group of rugby players who waited for him at the exit and ended up murdering hits.
The altercation began after one of Báez Sosa’s friends brushed against one of the rugby players and he tried to defend him, a witness said. Finally the security of the place threw them all out.
While waiting for the rest of his group of friends to come out, Báez Sosa was seen by two of the rugby players who warned the rest of his teammates and after a few minutes they all went to attack him from behind.
Thomsen is pointed out by justice as the one who gave Fernando the fatal kick to the head when he was “on his knees on the ground” and who said out loud: “I’m going to take him as a trophy.”
The 8 rugbiers arrested are accused of “double aggravated homicide by treachery and by the premeditated competition of two or more people” in an oral trial before the Criminal Court 1 of Dolores.
Although initially eleven were arrested for the attack, in the end only eight were accused. The other three were later dismissed during the investigation of the cause.
Máximo Thomsen, Enzo Comelli, Matías Benicelli, Blas Cinalli, Ayrton Viollaz and Luciano, Ciro and Lucas Pertossi are accused of the Báez Sosa crime. All of them were friends who were on vacation at Villa Gessell at the time of the crime.
All have been detained since 2020 and since the day of the attack none of the eight defendants had spoken publicly. The defendants’ lawyer told local media in 2020 that the principle of innocence corresponds to them.
Some facts to highlight from the trial.
Third day — “They attacked him with hatred and brutality”
At the trial’s third hearing on January 4, one of Fernando’s friends said he saw Máximo Thomsen attack Báez with “hatred, brutality and intent to kill.”
Day seven — The Prosecutor’s Office reconstructs the attack
The prosecutor in the Javier Laborde case reconstructed the crime scene through chats and videos recorded on the cell phones of the eight detainees. According to Laborde, the attack lasted less than 60 seconds; the men attacked him from the front, from behind and from the side and even, once on the ground, they continued to beat him until they killed him.
This hearing had high-impact judicial information when an expert confirmed the brand of the shoe of one of the defendants, Máximo Thomsen, on the left jaw of Báez Sosa. That day neither the defendants nor their lawyers made any comments on innocence or guilt. But, on January 16, a week later, Thomsen would declare that he had no intent to kill.
Day eight – “Expired”: the cruelty of the audios of the accused
During this day of the trial, audios and chats that the defendants exchanged on the day of the crime were presented, which give an idea of what the horrific sequence of events that ended the life of Báez Sosa was like.
Day nine — One of the defendants speaks
This was the first day one of the defendants was heard to speak at the trial. This is Luciano Pertossi, who interrupted the analysis that was taking place of the images of the attack to clarify that he was not at the scene.
“I want to clarify something: I was not there,” Pertossi said, but when asked where he was at the time, the defendant said “I’m not going to answer you.”
According to the file, of the eight detainees, five beat Báez Sosa.
Day eleven — “I had no intent to kill”
In a statement that lasted 50 minutes, Máximo Thomsen, one of the eight defendants in the trial, apologized, saying “it would never have occurred to me in my life to have the intention of killing someone.” The young man added that he kicked one or two times, but he doesn’t remember how or to whom.
Thomnsen agreed to be the owner of the shoe that left its mark on Báez Sosa’s lower jaw, a 6 cm long by 2 cm wide mark that rests as one of the evidence that the prosecution has in the case.
This day there was a twist in the trial when Thomsen declared for the first time that before attacking he received a blow to the face. The testimony revealed the defense strategy of making it clear that the defendants did not have the intention to kill, so the accusation should not be aggravated homicide by treachery and premeditated contest by two or more people, which has a penalty of up to life imprisonment, but the case should be homicide in a fight, whose penalty is a maximum of six years in prison.
But the victim’s lawyers allege that Thomsen’s testimony was fabricated and that he was a liar because the blow to the face was never recorded. The defense continues to maintain that the attackers did have the intent to kill.
Day twelve — “When I see that I was on the floor, I stopped”
This time the statement was made by Ciro Pertossi, the third to break the silence. According to the experts who reviewed the security videos and recordings of the day, Pertossi was one of the five attackers of Báez Sosa. He is pointed out by the plaintiffs as the one who first hit the victim and the one who knocked him out.
According to Pertossi, when he saw “this boy on the floor” (he said without mentioning Fernando) he stopped the kick, a statement that, according to his lawyers, served to mitigate the aggravating factors of the accusation.
For the victim’s defense, Pertossi’s testimony, beyond helping him, harmed him because that was how he showed that he was at the scene of the crime.
During the trial days, the defendants’ defense does not dispute that there was a homicide and that part of the defendants participated in the crime. What they are trying to do is mitigate the aggravating factors and deny that there was treachery and a premeditated contest to kill Báez Sosa, which can, in the end, change the sentence of the young men by possibly going from life imprisonment to a few years in prison.
— With information from Ignacio Grimaldi and Iván Pérez Sarmenti of CNN in Buenos Aires.