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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Convicted murderer who pretended he couldn’t walk waives preliminary hearing



Hermes Ávila Vázquez faces charges of femicide, destruction of evidence, and violations of the Weapons Law and the Vehicle Protection Law.

By The Star Staff


Hermes Ávila Vázquez, the alleged murderer of Ivette Joan Meléndez Vega, waived his preliminary hearing on Monday, which resulted in the determination of probable cause for trial by Judge Elix Morales Cubero.


The reading of the charges will take place on June 25 at 9 a.m., with the trial scheduled to begin on July 18 at 9:30 a.m.


During the hearing in room 304 of the Arecibo Judicial Center, Ávila Vázquez, who was assisted by his legal representation, decided to agree to the determination of the case without proceeding with the preliminary hearing. Judge Morales Cubero verified that Ávila Vázquez’s decision was free and voluntary. Ávila Vázquez faces charges of femicide, destruction of evidence, and violations of the Weapons Law and the Vehicle Protection Law.


Prosecutor Lucianne Sánchez expressed surprise at Ávila Vázquez’s resignation, indicating that they were prepared to present the evidence. Prosecutor Juan Ayala Rivera assured that the evidence against Ávila Vázquez is overwhelming.


For his part, Alexis Alcaide, Ávila Vázquez’s lawyer, explained that his client made the decision to waive the preliminary hearing after several meetings where the importance of the process was explained to him.


Ávila Vázquez, who was convicted of murder in 2005, was released from prison under an early release program that allows inmates to leave jail if they suffer certain terminal conditions. However, after he was released, he allegedly killed his victim. Ávila Vázquez had been diagnosed as paraplegic even though, as it turned out, he could walk. Since then, the Corrections and Rehabilitation Department has been the target of criticism for allowing his release.


In a May 1 letter addressed to the superintendent, captain and commander of the 705 prison, Ávila Vázquez requested a meeting to provide the names of the doctors and other officials who knew that he was faking his paraplegia. He said he would only speak to the Justice Department.

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