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A Mexican judge in Cancun sentenced Bruce Beresford-Redman on Thursday to 12 years in prison and issued a $2,791 (43,000 peso) fine for the murder of his wife Monica Burgos in 2010. Beresford-Redman, a former producer on Survivor and the co-creator of the reality show Pimp My Ride, had been charged with the aggravated murder of Burgos during a family vacation to the Moon Palace Resort and Spa hotel during the spring of 2010.
“We are appalled and disgusted with this gross miscarriage of justice,” said Juanita and David Beresford-Redman in a statement on Thursday, immediately following the announcement. “Over an exhausting three and a half year period this trial has done nothing but prove Bruce’s innocence beyond any doubt,” they wrote. “Whatever lies behind this ruling it is based on neither facts nor evidence. This is a disservice to Monica’s memory; this is not the justice she and Bruce still deserve and that we continue to demand.”
Burgos’ murder made international headlines in 2010 after a hotel worker found her body dumped in a sewage cistern at the Moon Palace hotel a day after Bruce had reported her missing. The couple’s two children, Camilla and Alex, 5 and 3 at the time, also were on the vacation. Burgos’ body was found mangled and bloated by a hotel maintenance worker on the morning after Burgos’ disappearance.
After an initial investigation, Beresford-Redman returned to his home in California. But Mexican authorities soon issued an extradition request, and in 2012, a U.S. magistrate sent him back to Mexico, where he has remained ever since, awaiting trial. Throughout the trial, Mexican prosecutors insisted on Beresford-Redman’s guilt even though forensic evidence failed to back up their theory and successive witnesses either backed out or gave testimony that backed up Bruce’s repeated claims of innocence.
On Thursday, Beresford-Redman’s Mexico-based attorney said that he would file an appeal “immediately.” “They have nothing against him; this is just to justify his conviction,” Cancino said. “There’s no surprise here. I believe it’s political.”
“We are just going to keep going on, working the appeal, and hoping this will be the end of it,” said Juanita Beresford-Redman, adding: “We’ve told the children, told them that it’s a farce.”
Burgos’ two sisters have said they believe Bruce is their sister’s killer. The sisters’ lawyer, Alison Triessl, did not return a call for comment.
The Mexican Attorney General in Cancun also did not answer phone calls to his office.
After CBS aired a show last year in which Beresford-Redman took videos of himself from prison speaking frankly about the challenges of living behind bars, he was stripped of all his privileges. As of this week, he is housed in the “Albatross” cell of the Benito Juarez prison, a section reserved for newly arrived inmates. He is sleeping on the floor.
Cancino says that the first appeal will take place in Cancun state court. If that fails, he will file a federal appeal and, if necessary, take the case all the way to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
“He will come home one day,” said Juanita Beresford-Redman. “He definitely will come home.”
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