Barbecue Killer Set To Walk Free Due To Legal Loophole
A man who killed, butchered, and barbecued his wife is due to be released from jail after going four years without trial.
Raul Diaz is accused of killing his wife Romina Celeste Nunez, 29, in Costa Teguise, Lanzarote, early on 1st January 2019.
But after years in preventive custody without trial, local law means he must be released by 16th January.
Neighbours had gone to their home after noticing flames and a sickening stench coming from the garden.
Diaz, now 44, had told them he was having a barbecue.
He told police his wife had disappeared after her mother bombarded him with anxious calls.
Diaz was remanded in custody on 16th January 2019 after police found that two days before her death, Romina had gone to hospital apparently after a beating.
Medics had been unable to check her, as Diaz had turned up and taken her away.
He was seized on 13th January 2019 after investigators from the Civil Guard tapped his phone.
In one call, he is said to have told a relative how he had burned part of her body on the barbecue and chopped up the rest and dumped it in bin bags.
He had then rented a car and driven to Los Hervideros – one of Romina’s favourite spots on the island – where he threw the bags into the sea.
Investigators were only able to recover a small piece of Romina’s lung.
Because the rest of her body was never found, her cause of death remains unknown to this day.
Diaz – a successful industrial engineer – claimed to police he had returned home on New Year’s Eve and found Romina dead.
Unconvincingly, he claimed he dismembered and burned her body because he had got scared.
Prosecutors – who are demanding a 20-year prison sentence – have demanded the confiscation of Diaz’s passport before he is released from custody.
He may also be required to check in with police daily.
Prosecutors believe Diaz considered Romina “an inferior being” because she was “young, foreign, and poor, and practised prostitution to support herself financially”.
Diaz – who has two daughters from a previous marriage – had met Romina at a club and had tied the knot with her following a brief relationship.
Romina had two children she dreamed of bringing to Spain from her native Paraguay.
Diaz is accused of habitual abuse, causing injuries from gender-based violence, murder, desecration of a corpse, and filing a false missing person report.
Local media report that he has not gone on trial because of tactics by his defence counsel to delay the investigation and run down the clock on his detention period.
Lawyer Emilia Zaballos – who is representing Romina’s family – has said there have been negotiations with the defence counsel since October to reach an agreement.
Such an agreement would avoid a trial, earn Diaz a reduced sentence, and see Romina’s mother and children receiving compensation.
However, she said, the Prosecutor’s Office has not collaborated.