Magdalena Espósito Valenti, Lucio Dupuy's mother, and her partner, Abigail Páez, were sentenced today to life imprisonment for their roles in the November 2021 death of the five-year-old boy.
After 15 days of deliberation, the Oral Court of Santa Rosa in La Pampa announced life terms for both women, who had previously been found guilty of the crime of "aggravated homicide" to varying degrees, though neither were present for the verdict.
Judges Alejandra Ongaro, Daniel Sáez Zamora and Andrés Olié applied the maximum sentence to both, after the same court determined at the beginning of the month that Espósito Valenti, the mother of the murdered child, was guilty of aggravated homicide on three counts, qualified by her link as a mother and carer, cruelty and malice aforethought. She was found not guilty of sexual abuse.
Her partner, Abigail Páez, was convicted of aggravated homicide on two counts, qualified by intent and malice aforethought as well as the crime of seriously outrageous sexual abuse due to the circumstances in which it was committed (carnal access via the anus with an object); aggravated by her role as the guardian of a minor under 18 years of age and taking advantage of the pre-existing situation of cohabitation to commit an ongoing offence.
The ruling said that both convicted persons understood the crime that they committed and will be added to the Registry of Convicted Persons for crimes against sexual exploitation.
Psychiatric examinations showed that Abigail Páez "has clear notions of right and wrong, just and unjust, lawful and unlawful, knows that the alleged act constitutes a crime and knows the responsibilities that would correspond to her, that is, she understands the criminality of her acts and can direct her actions," wrote the judges.
As for Esposito Valenti, the opinion concluded that "she shows no signs or symptoms of any psychotic pathology or of having suffered from it in recent times (dementia in the legal sense), concluding that she understands the criminality of her acts and can direct her actions."
After the La Pampa court sentenced the duo, trial prosecutor Verónica Ferrero confirmed that both would be jailed for the rest of their life.
"Because of the article of the Penal Code under which they were sentenced, the defendants cannot ask for parole even when they are over 50 years old," said the prosecutor.
"It is a life sentence, they have no possibility of release; they cannot ask for parole after any term has passed," said Ferrero told reporters.
Life imprisonment is the maximum penalty provided by law in Argentina.
Despite the fact that the maximum sentence was imposed for the crimes committed against the five-year-old boy, the defence team representing some of Lucio's family members said they are not satisfied with the ruling because the court did not convict the mother of the child on the sexual abuse count.
Ramón Dupuy, the late child's grandmother, petitioned the court during the trial to include gender hatred in the aggravating circumstances for the homicide allegation.
"Lucio was killed for being a boy," he told local press. "There is evidence that Lucito was killed for being male."