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Nicaragua Court Convicts Man for Murder in U.S.

October 21, 1998

A Nicaraguan court has convicted a man of murdering his wife in Los Angeles, the first use of a 93-year-old treaty in which both countries agreed that cross-border criminals could be tried in their native countries, authorities said Tuesday.

Edgar Francisco Sevilla, 29, a Nicaraguan, was found guilty Oct. 15 of beating his wife, Yasmilda Torres-Sevilla, in their apartment in the Ramparts district west of downtown in 1996. She died from her injuries four months later.

However, because Nicaraguan law does not permit a murder conviction if the victim dies more than 60 days after the attack, Sevilla was found guilty only of aggravated assault, and faces five to 10 years in jail.

Sevilla fled the United States to his hometown of Ciudad Sandino and stayed with relatives, knowing that Los Angeles police were looking for him. Nicaraguan national police, acting on information from Los Angeles police, found Sevilla in June.

U.S. authorities tried to extradite Sevilla, but the bid was denied and he was prosecuted by Nicaraguan authorities.

Sevilla was tried in Nicaragua under the first use of a 1905 treaty that allows the country to try its citizens for crimes committed in the United States.

"This sends a great message that no matter where you go or where you hide, the Los Angeles Police Department will look for you and find you," Det. Federico Sicard said.

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