By PAUL RENZI and JIM WATSONBERG – APTN (AP) A farm worker accused of fatally shooting his own comrades was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for killing five people, including a police officer, in an attack in the south of the country.
The accused, identified as Alberto Pardo, 38, a farm worker, was found guilty of killing seven people and wounding five others, including two policemen, in the attacks on April 10.
The court in the northern town of La Rioja sentenced Pardo to life imprisonment with hard labor.
He has not yet entered a plea to the charges against him.
He has been in custody since the attack, but it was unclear if he will be transferred to a prison in nearby Santa Marta, where he was detained last year.
The killings took place in the southern city of La Paz.
The judge, Jose Luis Perez, said the five people who died were Pardo’s brother-in-law and his neighbor, Jose Ramón Perez, 43.
The other five people were killed while trying to escape from the attack.
“You are the worst killer I’ve ever seen,” Perez said.
The case against Pardo was made public last week by the state prosecutor’s office, which said it had evidence that Pardo had ordered the killings.
He is a member of a radical group called the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and he was arrested in the city of San Juan.
Perez said Pardo and other armed groups in the area had been waging a campaign of violence against the government, which has been battling the FARC.
The prosecutor’s announcement triggered a violent response from some protesters, who smashed windows of government offices and stormed the courthouse.
The violence escalated, with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.
Pardo was convicted of murder, conspiracy and the use of firearms, but the judge said he was guilty of other crimes, including attempted murder.
The judge said the case against him had been decided based on “irreconcilable differences.”