Killer of Dominican Republic Minister Jailed for 30 Years

Image source,  Orlando Jorge Mera
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A man who killed the Dominican Republic Environment Minister Orlando Jorge Mera has been sentenced to 30 years in jail.

Miguel Cruz opened fire on Orlando Jorge Mera in the office of the latter on 6 June 2022.

The two men were childhood friends who had fallen out over the failure of the minister to grant environmental permits to Cruz.

After the shooting, Cruz went to a church and confessed to a priest, to whom he also handed the murder weapon.

The judges said they had sentenced Cruz to the maximum jail term because the murder had been premeditated.

As he was a personal friend of Orlando Jorge Mera, Cruz was able to enter the minister’s office without any security checks on the morning of 6 June 2022.

Staff at the ministry said that they had heard raised voices coming from the office before Cruz opened fire.

The burst of gunfire caused panic among the staff, who ran from the building.

Prosecutors said Cruz shot the minister 13 times, while the shooter maintained that he had only fired six shots.

In a hand-written letter, Cruz also claimed that he had argued with Orlando Jorge Mera over $3m (£2.4m) that he said he had lent the minister.

But prosecutors argued that Cruz, who owned a construction company and a gun import business, had gone to his friend’s office with the plan to kill him.

The prosecution maintained that Cruz was out for revenge after the environment minister had denied his childhood friend environmental permits Cruz’s company had requested in order to export thousands of tonnes of used batteries.

The murder of the minister, who was the son of former president Salvador Jorge Blanco, shocked the Dominican Republic, where killings of politicians are rare.

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