Fernando Andrés Sabag Montiel and Brenda Uliarte did not appeal their indictments on Wednesday and have been remanded in custody, accused of the attempted homicide of Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on September 1.
With the possibility of appealing the indictments ruled by Federal Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti to the Federal Appeals Court open, their defence lawyers ultimately decided not to do so and the pair thus stand accused as "co-authors" of the failed assassination attempt. The deadline to appeal expired at midnight last Tuesday.
Since the indictment of both defendants now stands firm, the judge may place them on trial in oral and public proceedings, though the investigation into the crime is continuing.
The evidence against both is overwhelming. Sabag Montiel, 35, was arrested when militants saw him pointing a .32-calibre pistol at the vice-president’s head while his girlfriend Uliarte exchanged messages with him planning the attack. She subsequently contacted others involved in the plot as to the possibility of making another attempt on Fernández de Kirchner’s life.
Messages from mobile phones of the accused recovered by experts regarding the attempt against the former 2007-2015 president continue to supply clues as to the plot and the ranking within the gang allegedly behind the attack.
One of the last communications which Uliarte exchanged with Nicolás Gabriel Carrizo, the alleged leader of the so-called “candy floss gang," came after the failed attempt on Fernández de Kirchner’s life. It makes it clear that the 23-year-old had every intention of making another stab at killing the vice-president.
“The next time it will be me pulling the trigger, Nando failed. I know how to shoot straight and my hand will not tremble,” was the message Uliarte sent to Carrizo after Sabag Montiel had failed to fire the shot when only centímetres away from the vice-president.
“Do you want to do it?” responded Carrizo, who reportedly provided the group with the cotton candy they sold on the streets, an activity they used as cover to study Fernández de Kirchner’s movements without drawing excess attention.
“I swear I do and the shot won’t let me down. But it has to be thought through carefully. Nando didn’t have much practice and his hand trembled,” continued Uliarte.
She also sent messages shortly after the assassination attempt, urging Carrizo to “play stupid” because “we’re all going to be caught in the dragnet.”
Identified as the leader of the candy floss hawkers, for whom he provided the raw material and the machinery, Carrizo has come under increasing scrutiny over the attack. He began to become known when he was asked to hand over his mobile telephone to the court, later becoming the fourth person to be arrested after Sabag Montiel, Uliarte and her friend Agustina Díaz.
The messages were detected on Carrizo’s mobile phone. Both Uliarte and Carrizo could now be summoned to testify again on this new evidence, local outlets reported Wednesday This decision will be up to Prosecutor Carlos Rívolo and Capuchetti.
Meanwhile the judge is deciding whether to put Carrizo and Díaz, whose contact was saved in Uliarte’s phone as “Love of my life,” on trial.