Photo via El Tribuno

Judge Sandra Arroyo Salgado has ruled that there is no reason for Marcelo Mallo, a barra brava (hooligan) often linked to former Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández, to remain under arrest for the 2008 Double Homicide of Unicenter (after the shopping mall where the murders took place). Arroyo Salgado cleared Mallo after a third forensic analysis of a gun found in his possession confirmed that it did not match the projectiles found at the crime scene. The owner of the Tanfoglio .40 caliber gun, Leandro Ghiso, has also been cleared.

The crime known as the Double Homicide of Unicenter involved the deaths of two Colombians who belonged to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a paramilitary group linked to drug trafficking. Edilson Duque Ceballos (aka “Monoteto”) and Alexander Quinter Gardner were shot in broad daylight, stepping out of their car in the parking lot of Unicenter, a shopping center in San Isidro, in July 2008. They were allegedly killed by a hit man and one man accompanying them, Julián Andrés Jiménez Jaramillo, survived.

There had been virtually no progress until last month, when forensic scientists from the Argentine Federal Police (PFA) revealed that a .40 caliber gun in Mallo’s possession was used to shoot the projectiles found at the scene of the Double Murder. However, the Buenos Aires Police Force and the defendant’s forensic team did not find a positive match: Arroyo Salgado has ordered for the PFA to be investigated.

“The judge asked for administrative sanctions against the forensic scientists to be evaluated because she considers that jail time for innocent people should not be dictated by bad practice,” said Damián Odetti, Ghiso’s lawyer.

Mallo’s lawyer, José Novello, stated for his part that the forensic scientists in question should be laid off because, “they either lied or did a bad job.” He also questioned Security Minister Patricia Bullrich’s tenure because she had publicly called for Mallo’s arrest.

Mallo, former head of the NGO “United Fans of Argentina,” will not be allowed to leave jail just yet though: he has pending charges of “extorsion” that have to be ironed out first. There are four remaining suspects for the crime being held in jail.