Back in March, I brought you the shocking story a man who was acquitted of murder charges in the stabbing death of a gay couple in Vigo, Spain.
Jacobo Piñeiro Rial (right) had spent the afternoon of January 12th of this year drinking at a gay bar. At some point, he left the place with bartender Isaac Al Daní Pérez Triviño, and accepted an invite to Triviño's apartment. According to court testimony, the two spent the afternoon doing drugs. The pair didn't even leave the room after Triviño's partner, Julio Anderson Luciano, arrived with a couple of friends for dinner.
Luciano's friends left, but Piñeiro stayed in the apartment with the couple. Something went horribly wrong and, according to forensic reports, the bloodbath began around 4am on the morning of the 13th and didn't end until 2 hours later.
Piñeiro, who argued that he wasn't gay and that he'd panicked after the men had tried to sexually assault him, methodically took his time as he stabbed them 57 times. Forensic experts testified that he followed Luciano as the victim struggled to crawl out of a hallway into the living room, stabbing him 22 times as he went along. Once he'd killed the couple, he dumped clothes across the floor and on the bodies, dousing them with gasoline, and set everything afire.
Astonishingly, despite the fact that Piñeiro spent a whole afternoon at a gay bar and accepted an invite by a gay bartender to go home with him, the jury that heard the case in March believed in the gay panic defense and absolved Piñeiro of murder charges. Apparently, the jury would have set him free if it wasn't for the judge who stepped in to correct some jury 'errors' and sentenced him in setting the apartment on fire. The judge sentenced Piñeiro to 20 years in prison on the arson charges.
Understandably, there were protests. In Vigo, Madrid, New York and Berlin. The New York protest came at the calling of my friend Karlo.
The outrage elicited by the acquittal led to demands that the court ruling be annulled. And this summer, the Superior Justice Tribunal of Galicia decided to take a look at the ruling and determine if it had been fair.
Yesterday, mincing no words, the Tribunal called the lower court ruling "defective, absurd, illogical and arbitrary"and ordered a new trial, according to El Pais. The Tribunal also dismissed petitions to reduce the sentence for setting the apartment on fire.
Asked by La Voz de Galicia how she felt about the announcement, Marta Pérez Triviño, Isaac's mother, said "I am very happy, although we have only won a battle but we have yet to win the war".
She told the paper that she hopes that a new trial will take place before July.
Speaking about the first trial's murder acquittal, she said "If it had been a different murdered couple, the verdict would have been a lot different; the jury was greatly swayed by racism and homophobia."
Ms. Triviño has always said that she is not only fighting for justice for her son Isaac, but also for his partner Julio, who she loved as if he were her own son.
Although it didn't surface during the trial, police records show that after being arrested, Piñeiro told police that he had been particularly disgusted by the fact that a black Brazilian man made sexual advances, using some of the vilest racist terms possible. Ms. Triviño has implied that the jury in the first trial might have held similar sentiments against Julio.