BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Five men accused of robbing bank customers were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison Monday for killing the child of a pregnant woman who was chased down by motorcycle gunmen and shot twice as she begged for mercy.
Carolina Piparo survived the shooting, but her baby boy Isidro was born prematurely and died days late.
The case shocked Argentines and prompted congress to impose additional security measures inside bank branches, such as additional cameras and privacy walls. But the so-called withdrawal robberies, targeting people leaving banks with large amounts of cash, have continued during the three years it took to reach this verdict.
"This case isn't a turning point. Every day people die in crimes," Piparo told reporters at the courthouse in La Plata, the capital of Buenos Aires province, where she was shot in 2010. She said her only wish is that Argentines can live in peace, and that the guilty ones actually serve their sentences.
Two other defendants were found not guilty of charges that included aggravated homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated robbery and criminal association. Long before the trial began, the judges dropped charges against a bank teller who told Piparo to return the next day when she asked to withdraw a large sum of money from her account.
Piparo's attorney Fernando Burlando said that nothing will replace what his client lost.
"There's a huge hole here that no verdict will fill," he said outside court.
The five men who were convicted were Carlos Moreno, Luciano Lopez; Miguel Silva, Carlos Jordan Juarez, and Juan Manuel Calvimonte. The defendant accused of firing two bullets into Piparo, Carlos Burgos, was found not guilty after witnesses failed to conclusively identify him.