MEXICO CITY – Mexico City authorities made their first arrest for femicide, three days after the law was enacted that makes that crime punishable by up to 60 years in jail, a prosecutor in this capital said.
Daniel Efrain Ruiz, 29, will be prosecuted on charges of beating to death his stepdaughter, a little 8-year-old girl who was also abused sexually, Luis Genero Vasquez, deputy prosecutor with the Mexico City District Attorney’s Office, told a press conference after Friday’s arrest.
He added that the mother and sister of the accused, as well as the little girl’s mother, Semiramis Rodriguez, are also implicated in the case as accomplices.
According to the official, the suspect “got annoyed because the girl was biting her fingernails and hit her several times causing her death,” and later left her body in an alley wrapped in blankets with the help of the little girl’s mother and the suspect’s mother and sister.
“Efrain Ruiz was the live-in boyfriend of the child’s biological mother and as such is credited with a higher degree of relationship since he was the stepfather, which allows us to take the crime of femicide to trial for the first time,” he said after announcing the results of a partial examination of the child.
Finally, he said that the suspect, who has a criminal record for crimes against health and well-being, will be held without bail pending his trial.
On Tuesday, a reform of the Mexico City criminal code went into effect, punishing with greater severity the murders of women committed because of their gender, crimes to be identified as femicides.
The reform considers a crime to be femicide when “the female victim shows signs of sexual violence of any kind.”
Also when “cruel and degrading injuries or mutilations were inflicted before or after their lives were taken,” according to a communique from the capital city government.
The sentences for killing women, which were formerly between 20 and 50 years, have been raised to between 20 and 60 years in jail, particularly when the murderers have had an affectionate, intimate or confidential relationship with the victim, or when the crime has been motivated by hate or discrimination against women.
Recent data from Mexico’s National Citizens’ Femicide Observatory reveals that from January 2009 to December 2010 there were 203 femicides in Mexico City, among which 108 of the women slain were between 21 and 40 years of age.