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Wildlife

Former Police Officer Imprisoned 16 Years After Trial
• Seven Officers Were Sentenced in 1997 for Simple Homicide
• Man Was Active Preaching In Samara Church

By Arianna McKinney

On Thursday, March 8th, Olman Perez Acevedo was arrested during a routine roadblock by the public force in Samara. A warrant was out for his arrest for a “simple homicide” that happened way back when Olman himself was working for the public force, but the case is far from simple.
 
“It is unknown whether he was guilty,” according to Katia Castrillo, one of the four officers who detained Olman. She noted that for about 16 years he had been “escaping from the injustice.”

On August 22, 1997, Olman and six other officers were sentenced to 12 years in prison for simple homicide in the court in Perez Zeledon, according to expedient number 96-2000031-030-PE. The judges in the case were Iris Valverde Usaga, Randall Esquivel Quiros and Jose Antonio Madrigal Soto.

Olman’s Story: Police Operative Gone Awry
Olman was living in San Fernando of Samara, working as caretaker of a foreigner’s house. He and his wife of three years, Silvia Carrillo, belong to the Iglesia Cristiana Ciudad de Jehová (City of Jehovah Christian Church), which meets in Cantarana of Samara and has its center in Caimital. He has been so active in his church that some view him as a pastor, although Olman says he is just a worker. 

 
   
 

On Sunday, March 18th, VON was able to visit Olman in the penal center in Liberia along with his family to hear his story. When Olman embraced his wife on his tenth day in prison, tears lined his cheeks and hers. His mother and father, who live in the zona sur (southern zone) of Costa Rica, and two sisters who live in El Torito of Samara were also able to visit that day. It was the first time they were able to see him since his arrest. 

Olman related that he had been working with the public force for 8 years when he was told to go on an operative to detain a man who, the night before, had injured the police captain and another officer, cutting his eye and cheek with a broken bottle. The man was known to be dangerous, according to Olman, as he already had a criminal record and was known to have killed two or three people previously. 

As they approached the man’s house, the seven officers divided into three groups, two officers going around each side and three approaching the front of the house. Olman was among those approaching the front when the man began to shoot. “After from five to ten minutes, I heard a silence, nothing more,” recalled Olman.

The man they went to detain was dead, and which officer shot him was the question that remains unanswered. “I think maybe someone knows, but I sincerely don’t,” Olman affirmed. Since the officers were sent in small groups in opposite directions, it wasn’t possible to see who did what.

For Olman, the 12-year sentence for all seven officers came as a surprise. “Nothing was ever proven,” Olman lamented. “It was drastic.”

They were given 15 days to appeal, but the appeal was not accepted, and all seven went into hiding.  “No one presented themselves afterward because who is going to want to be in jail,” Olman explained

Hope for Release from Prison?
“I’m continuing ahead trusting in the Lord,” Olman affirmed, hoping that his name will be cleaned. “I am certain that soon I will leave here.”

Grieven Fallas, transaction judge in the court in Perez Zeledon, indicated that the case is very singular and that the other officers implicated continue at large, although Olman thinks that two of them were arrested previously and were able to get released after a year or two. 

Olman said he thought the sentence would have expired after 10 years, but Fallas explained that the crime was judged under former penalties and that certain crimes like homicide remain active indefinitely. Fallas speculated that it would be difficult to fight the sentence at this point because the sentence was signed many years ago and normal recourses no longer apply.

Nonetheless, lawyer Marianela Ruiz Rodriguez is waiting for a copy of the expedient to review the case and see if there might be a basis for appeal.  

 

More Regional News

Presidency Asks Representatives to Revise Law of Coastal Territories

After several members of the country’s coastal communities presented their case to the Legislative Assembly, the Presidency of the Republic convened on April 26 and with two days of extraordinary sessions remaining, to discuss in the Legislative Assembly the project of Bill Number 18.148, Law of Coastal Territory Communities.

San Jose – Nicoya Bus Fare to Increase 1335 colones

Travel to the capital will be more expensive for users of route 503 that connects San Jose with Nicoya. Currently the price per trip is 3445 ¢. However, it will go up to 4780 ¢ since the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos (ARESEP) Public Services Regulatory Authority approved the increase on most routes of public transport sector in the country, including this trip.

Finishing the Montaña River Bridge is in the Controller’s hands

Although it was announced that the bridge over the Montaña River would be ready by the end of March, the General Controller of the Republic still hasn’t approved an increase in the budget presented by the ex-Vice Minister of Transportation and Public Works (MOPT), Maria Lorena Lopez. 

Security Vehicle Carrying More than $100,000 Flipped

Samara. On Tuesday, April 17th a little after 4 p.m. a VMA Valores security vehicle flipped while driving downhill about 2 kilometers north of Samara between the town and the gas station. The road was slick and slippery because of the rain, and apparently when the driver tried to break, the vehicle skidded and ended up on its side. 

Mel Gibson Has Not Paid Off Debt With Nicoya's Municipality

Although one of Mel Gibson's representatives visited the Municipality of Nicoya on March 30th in order to pay off property taxes, he still owes 27 million colones in unpaid taxes.

Samara Pays Homage to a Great Surfer and Friend

After burying his body in Carrillo in the morning on Thursday, April 12th, hundreds gathered on the beach in Samara in front of Choco’s Surf School at about 4:30 p.m. to pay their respects to surf instructor Jose Angel Lopez Castillo, known as “Shaggy.”

Police Apprehend Thieves with Help from Courageous Neighbor

On the evening of Tuesday, April 3rd, two thieves were detained by the tourist police of Guiones, thanks to the collaboration of a neighbor. Although a denunciation was filed with the Organism of Judicial Investigation of Nicoya, the next day the criminals were released pending trial since the 12 hours that someone can be legally held without a formal denunciation had expired. 

Urban Development Project
in Curime is Halted Due to
Possible Contamination

Nicoya's Municipalidad has halted progress on an urban development project in Curime. The main reason is the property's location, as it is adjacent to a stream that flows into the Potrero River.

Traffic Accidents Increase During “Dust Season” in Nosara

The excess of dust particles in the environment has not only affected the health of Nosara residents, but is also a determining factor when driving a vehicle as it influences visibility for drivers. 

New Waste Management Plan Offers a Solution to Trash Problems

A responsible and adequate waste management process continues to be an unresolved issue for Nicoya. This is evidenced by the closing of the landfill, on three different occasions, and the lack of a comprehensive vision as to how to deal with waste management in the future.

A New Home for the Healthiest Elderly in the World

With a cost of around 150 million colones ($300,000) the Centro de Atención al Anciano y Minusválido (Center of Assistance for the Elderly and Disabled) will be built in the district of Nosara, which will be located on a 1,700-square-meter piece of land, purchased in Bocas de Nosara, 50 meters east of the EBAIS.

More Time Granted for Analyzing Proposed Regulatory Plan

Many voiced opposition to how little time was given for community members to review the proposed regulatory plan for the Canton of Nicoya and submit observations, just 10 working days after the plan was presented on Saturday, February 25th, and the municipal council on Monday, March 26th agreed to allow those who submitted comments during those ten days to have an additional 45 working days to continue reviewing the plan, beginning April 9th. 

Efforts to Protect Samara’s Water Source

The need to protect Samara and El Torito’s main water source, the Mala Noche water table located between Samara and El Torito, was one issue raised in response to the canton’s proposed regulatory plan (see article), which had the area zoned for tourism, although a technical report by the SENARA (National Service of Subterranean Waters, Irrigation and Drainage) specified that a zone of protection of natural resources should be implemented in the Municipality’s regulatory plan.


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