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Guatemalan Supreme Court justice commits suicide

Published on Mar 3, 2014 9:31 AM

GUATEMALA CITY (AFP) - Guatemalan Supreme Court Justice Cesar Barrientos, known for revoking dozens of death penalty sentences in a single year, committed suicide on Sunday, reportedly shooting himself in the head.

Relatives said the incident occurred as he rode in the back of his car with two bodyguards, in the south-western town of San Francisco Zapotitlan, according to local media.

"I confirm that he arrived (at the hospital) with a shot to the temple, but later died of the wound," fellow Justice Hector Manfredo Maldonado told the state-run Guatemalan News Agency, known as AGN.

In 2012, the Supreme Court's criminal chamber, led by chief justice Barrientos, revoked 53 death penalty sentences on the ground that they violated prisoners' "due process" and replaced them with 50-year prison sentences, the maximum allowed in the country.

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