A bogus kung fu master, who is charged with brutally killing two women in Bilbao in 2013, has agreed both to plead guilty and to take the stand in his trial to explain why he murdered them, a court heard on Friday.
Juan Carlos Aguilar, who ran a gym in Bilbao, stands accused of killing Maureen Ada Otuya, a 29-year-old Nigerian woman, and Jenny Sofía Rebollo, a 40-year-old Colombian, after tying up and abusing them in two separate incidents that took place days apart.
Aguilar closed his eyes as a court clerk read his confession
In a statement read out by a court clerk on the first day of the trial, Aguilar confessed to killing them both “in a sudden, surprise and unexpected way.”
The case of the fake Shaolin master captured headlines around the world following his arrest by Basque Country police two years ago. Some 119 reporters have been accredited to cover the trial, which is expected to last about three weeks.
While his lawyer had already presented the statement with his confession to the Bizkaia provincial court, it was the first time it had been heard in public. Aguilar closed his eyes as the clerk read the document.
The defendant has agreed to pay compensation to the families of both victims and asked that his bank accounts be liquidated with the money shared between the survivors of the victims. But he also asked that the court deduct an amount equivalent to a minimum salary for him to live off.
Aguilar has denied that the victims were killed in a cruel manner, and if the prosecution cannot prove otherwise, he could avoid a maximum prison term of 30 years and instead face 25 years.
Once both the defense and prosecution have presented their cases, Aguilar is expected to take the stand to answer questions from his lawyers and the prosecution, which is asking for a prison term of between 40 and 45 years and €300,000 compensation to the families.
Aguilar was arrested on June 2, 2013 for the murders of the two women.
The Ertzaintza Basque regional police detained him at his gym, Zen 4, after an officer found the Nigerian woman brutally beaten and tied up in the back of the establishment.
Some 119 reporters have been accredited to cover the trial
Otuya, who worked as a prostitute, died three days later from her injuries at Basurto Hospital. Following his arrest, Aguilar confessed to murdering Colombian native Rebollo and chopping up her body. Police later found her remains in the gym.
A private prosecution charge brought by the Clara Campoamar women’s rights association, which represents the victims’ families, has asked the judge to sentence Aguilar to 45 years based on the “cruelty” he inflicted on Otuya.