Monica Spear’s killers given long sentences
Three men have been sentenced to many years in jail for the killing of Venezuelan beauty queen Monica Spear in January 2014.
The three had pleaded guilty.
Monica Spear, 29, and her British partner, Thomas Berry, were shot dead in front of their five-year-old daughter during a roadside robbery.
According to UN figures, Venezuela has the second-highest peacetime murder rate in the world, but the brutality of the crime shocked the country.
Prosecutors said the three men were part of a larger gang which targeted motorists along a highway leading from Valencia to Puerto Cabello.
The court said seven other people were still on trial for the crime but had denied the charges.
The sentences for the three men range between 24 and 26 years in jail.
The family, who lived in the US, was on a visit to Monica Spear’s home country when they were targeted.
They were travelling at night from the city of Merida to the capital, Caracas, when their car hit a sharp object, puncturing two tyres.
While they waited for breakdown assistance, they were ambushed by the armed gang.
When the couple and their daughter hid inside the car, they were shot at by the robbers.
Monica Spear and Thomas Berry died instantly. Their daughter, Maya, was shot in the leg.
The murder of the popular beauty queen, who was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004, prompted demonstrations against the country’s high crime rate.
President Nicolas Maduro promised to respond with “an iron fist” and said he would make tackling crime one of the government’s top priorities.
Last week, Nicolas Maduro announced his government would invest $47 million to further expand a plan to disarm civilians.
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