A Veracruz man accused of killing a man he suspected of trying to kidnap his son was released from jail on Monday after his case went viral on social media and sparked hundreds of protests calling for his release.
Ramón Merino will continue the judicial process under house arrest while authorities investigate the case, which is expected to take about three months.
Don Ramón, as he has been dubbed by supporters, was arrested after shooting two men he suspected of trying to kidnap his son. He killed one and wounded another, who was also arrested. A third man fled.
Merino was initially sentenced to a year of preventative custody in prison, but public pressure led a judge to modify the ruling.
“Originally, the attorney general had provided evidence to seek a charge for the crime of homicide, and during the hearing the judge resolved to change the charge to manslaughter,” said the Veracruz Attorney General’s Office in a statement.
According to Veracruz state law, Merino could get five to 12 years in prison if it is found that he began the quarrel that led to the murder, or four to eight years if it is found that he was provoked, and a fine of up to 20,500 pesos (US $1,083).
Upon being released from jail, Don Ramón was met by a cheering crowd of supporters.
“I can’t explain to you how happy I am for your support . . . I love you, I love you and forgive me if I’ve ever offended you, although I don’t think I have because I have always been respectful with everyone in my town. I’m here to serve you,” he said to supporters.
“I’m happy for what I did, because I defended myself,” he added.
On December 8, Ramón Merino received a call from his son who said that he was being followed by men in a truck who wanted to kidnap him. The ex-soldier told his son to come to his house in Acultzingo, Veracruz, where he met the men with gunfire.
When making his statement after his arrest, Merino said that the same men had victimized his daughter a year earlier.
Source: Infobae (sp)