Crime of Cuenca

On 21 August 1910, in the small town of Osa de la Vega, in the province of Cuenca, Jose Maria Grimaldos, known as «El Cepa» (the stump), is seen on the road to the nearby village of Tresjuncos and then disappears.

His family fears foul play and reports it to the Guardia Civil (rural police). In the subsequent judicial investigation the family and others express their suspicions that two men, Gregorio Valero and Leon Sanchez had killed him for his money. This first case was closed in September 1911 with no convictions.

In 1913 a new, young and overzealous judge named Isasa arrives.[3] Influenced by the local boss, Judge Isasa decides to reopen the case. The two suspects are arrested by the Guardia Civil and under torture, confess to having killed the man and destroyed the body. The fiscal (district attorney) asks for the death penalty for both. Finally, on 25 May 1918 a popular jury convicted the two men of murder and they are sentenced to 18 years in prison. After serving eleven years, they are released under a general pardon on 20 February 1924.

Two years later, in early 1926, it is discovered by chance that the reputed victim, Grimaldos, «El Cepa», was alive and had been living in a nearby town. The ugly truth is thus revealed and the innocence of the convicted men becomes evident.

With many legal difficulties, the case is reopened and eventually reached the Supreme Court, where the convictions were overturned.