Trio face 35-year jail terms for contract killing of nurse

Three persons each got 35 years in prison Thursday after being convicted in the murder of a nurse in Barranca a year ago.

The victim, Grace Gómez Matarrita, 39 died when she was hit with seven bullets as she picked up her vehicle at a car wash. The two person convicted of shooting her were Nicaraguans who had contracted to do the killing for 1.5 million colons, about $2,800 at the time, said prosecutors.

They were identified by the last names of Morales Espinoza and Espinoza Miranda. The pair were detained because they were involved with the woman identified as the intellectual author of the crime multiple times on the telephone. In addition, they still carried what experts said were the murder weapons when caught.

The woman who was convicted has the last names of Mena Agüero. The motive for the crime was said to be jealousy because both the victim and Ms. Mena sought the affections of the same man. He was not believed to have been involved.

The case was in the Tribunal de Juicio de Puntarenas.

The trio were remanded to custody because under Costa Rican law the conviction and the sentence will be reviewed by a higher court. Defense lawyers almost always appeal convictions.

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