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Prosecutors Say Nonbinary Mexican Magistrate Died in Horrific Murder-Suicide

Author: Donald Padgett

The lead prosecutor investigating the killing of Jesús Ociel Baena, Mexico’s first nonbinary magistrate, said they were not the victim of a hate crime but were instead brutally slain in a razor blade murder-suicide at the hands of their lawyer and model boyfriend, Dorian Herrera.

“It may seem like a not very credible hypothesis to many, but we’re being very careful to leave a record and preserve all evidence,” Aguascalientes state prosecutor Jesús Figueroa Ortega told local Spanish-language Radio Formula.

The bloodied bodies of Baena, 38, and Herrera, 37, were discovered earlier this month at their home in the central Mexico city of Aguascalientes. The bodies were found at the base of the stairs of their two-story home. Baena had suffered 20 stab wounds from what has been described as a razor blade. They had defensive wounds to the arms and hands, but the fatal blow was a gash to the jugular. Herrera was found lying next to Baena, having suffered a gash to his jugular. Investigators say he had wounds to his hands and fingers consistent with the use of a razor in a fight.

Baena was a leading figure in Mexico’s LGBTQ+ community and was granted a special security detail due to receiving multiple death threats. Many initially suspected the two men were the victims of a hate crime, but the state prosecutor said all the evidence at the scene, including the wounds to the bodies, pointed to a murder-suicide at the hands of Herrera.

Ortega told Radio Formula that investigators believe a fight began in the upstairs bedroom and that Herrera attacked Baena with a blade, as evidenced by the state of the bed and the pattern of bloodstains. They say Herrera followed Baena downstairs, where he continued to slash the judge before killing them with a gash to the neck. Ortega said investigators believe Herrera went back upstairs to retrieve a knife, came back downstairs, lay next to Baena, and then slit his own throat.

“We found footprints, left and right, that go downstairs, and we figure he went back upstairs for another blade, which he used to cut his own throat, causing the loss of his life,” Figueroa told Radio Formula. “Both bodies were on the ground floor of the house, just centimeters from one another.”

Ortega also said investigators have reviewed video surveillance footage that shows the couple arriving home and entering the front door around 1:15 a.m. the day of the killings and roughly eight hours before the bodies were discovered. He said the front door was locked, that no one else was observed entering the residence, and that there was no evidence of another person other than Baena and Herrera at the scene.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community greeted the news from investigators with skepticism. Alejandro Brito, director of the LGBTQ+ rights group Letra S, told the Associated Press that state prosecutors are “loaded with prejudices” against the community.

“In these types of homicides, they always try to disqualify or belittle,” Brito said. “These statements that the prosecutor is giving, what they’re doing isn’t clarifying the acts, they’re adding fuel to the fire of these prejudices.”

Víctor Espíndola, executive director of the nonprofit Movement for Equality in Mexico, told Courthouse News the couple had sounded upbeat when they spoke with members of Baenai’s family on Sunday evening. He also disputed Ortega’s version of events, suggesting investigators are jumping to a predetermined conclusion, and called for a federal investigation.

“There is no evidence to support the attorney general’s version because there are no cameras in the house and there were no witnesses,” Espíndola said in a phone interview with Courthouse News. “But he dares to declare that there was an argument in the bedroom. It would appear that they would like to close this case as quickly as possible, so we and several other organizations are calling on the federal attorney general’s office to take the case, because what the Aguascalientes attorney general is declaring is not trustworthy.”

Baena’s father, Juan Baena, disagreed with Ortega’s assertions about the killings, and was quoted by the BBC saying it “would be a shame to let this justice system make a judgment that is not correct and that the majority do not believe it.”

Baena was an inspirational figure in the LGBTQ+ community. They were the first to receive a nonbinary designation on their birth certificate as well as the first to receive a Mexican passport with a nonbinary gender designation. They were also recently the first to receive a gender-neutral magistrate title, a significant step in the culturally conservative country. The moment was captured in a post to social media shown above.

Little is known of Herrera. He was reportedly a one-time model and lawyer. His Instagram profile has photos posted of him traveling, but no photos with Baena. His last post showed him sitting in an airplane.

Prosecutors assured the community the investigation is still open and that they will follow the evidence in the case.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Donald Padgett

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