SAN SALVADOR — Two former national guardsmen linked to right-wing death squads have each been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murders of two Americans and a Salvadoran land reform official, the court secretary said Friday.
The secretary, asking not to be identified by name, said the sentences were passed Tuesday against Jose Dimas Valle and Santiago Gomez Gonzalez, both former corporals, but no public announcement was made. The two were convicted of the killings Feb. 13 by a five-member jury after a one-day trial.
The defendants had confessed to killing Mark David Pearlman of Seattle, Michael P. Hammer of Potomac, Md., and Rodolfo Viera on Jan. 3, 1981, but said they were acting on orders from their superiors. Gunmen opened fire on the three as they sat in the coffee shop of the Sheraton Hotel here.
Pearlman and Hammer were advisers to the government on a land reform program that expropriated large holdings for distribution to the poor, and Viera headed the Agrarian Reform Institute that was overseeing the project.